Honors & Awards

2021 Darwina Neal, FASLA
Darwina Neal, FASLA

Darwina Neal, FASLA

“Life is a tapestry woven of people and experiences. And throughout my life, I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve worked with many talented and dedicated friends, who have helped make my tapestry a more beautiful one.” ‑ Penn State Alumni Association, 2017 (recording)


In 1984, Darwina was elected president of the ASLA -- the first woman to hold that position since ASLA's founding in 1899. But her career as a woman trailblazer in landscape architecture started much earlier than that. After she received her landscape architecture degree from Penn State University -- one of a handful of young women then studying the field -- she began her career at the National Park Service (NPS) -- just the third woman landscape architect ever hired. Her first assignment was to assist Lady Bird Johnson on her Beautification program, and through the NPS, she oversaw the design and development of parks in and around D.C. In 1972, she was commissioned by the ASLA to research the status of women in the field and uncovered that only five percent of ASLA members were women, prompting the organization to start promoting landscape architecture as a career for women. It was a decade later that Darwina was elected to be the first woman president of ASLA, paving the way for multiple women to become presidents in the decades to follow.

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