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Professorship brings renowned experts to campus

Students gather around Prof. Hood near a gravestone.Professor Walter Hood gathers with Knowlton School students in Columbus’ Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery.

Ohio State students are learning about some of the most prestigious work in the field of landscape architecture thanks to a donor’s vision of bringing internationally acclaimed practitioners to teach at the Knowlton School of Architecture. 

The Glimcher Distinguished Visiting Professorship is held annually by a leading landscape architect who teaches, lectures and presents an exhibition at the school. Previous visiting professors include Michel Desvigne, Adriaan Geuze, Jennifer Guthrie, Shannon Nichol, João Nunes, Michael Van Valkenburgh and Peter Walker.

“These are the names that we’re looking at in books and the projects that we’re visiting on study abroad trips,” said Associate Professor Kristi Cheramie, undergraduate chair of landscape architecture. “For students to have the opportunity to meet these practitioners and speak with them exposes them to the world of global practice. It also helps to situate what they’re learning within a much bigger context.”

Focused on the intersection of conflict, memory and the landscape, the fall 2017 Glimcher Seminar began a week after vandals toppled a Confederate soldier statue in Columbus’ Camp Chase Confederate cemetery. Surrounded by soldier graves, the group of landscape architecture and city and regional planning students discussed the nationwide debate on the removal of Confederate symbols from public spaces.

The seminar was led by Glimcher Distinguished Visiting Professor Walter Hood, who has confronted issues of social justice and identity-related conflict. A University of California, Berkeley professor and founder of Hood Design Studio, his projects include a public art piece commemorating Nashville’s role in the civil rights movement and the landscape design concept for the International African American Museum.

Guided by Hood through a series of discussions held throughout the semester, the students worked in teams to develop their research into a gallery exhibition. The monthlong exhibit explored the symbolic messages held by Confederate memorials, statues and cemeteries in communities across the country.

Confronting themes of racism and identity made the course challenging, shared Alexandra Lemke ’18, but also one of her favorites because of how much she learned.

“Having someone who is the expert really pushed us,” she said. “Walter has three degrees—landscape, architecture and art. He works internationally and has this great depth of experience that was great to get exposed to.”

Two people discuss a mural that is part of the exhibit.Part of the Confronting Landscapes of Conflict exhibition at the Knowlton School.

Hood also presented the Glimcher Lecture, part of a treasured tradition of sharing discourse across all three Knowlton School disciplines—architecture, landscape architecture and city and regional planning—as well as with the public.

Launched more than a decade ago, the professorship has fulfilled the goal of donors Herb and DeeDee ’88 (landscape architecture) Glimcher to bring more outside enrichment to the Knowlton School to benefit generations of students.

Their support also helps set apart Ohio State’s landscape architecture program—one of the oldest and most prestigious in the nation—by adding unique opportunities not commonly found at land-grant institutions.

“As a state program, we are constantly trying to find ways to ensure that the education is as affordable and accessible as possible,” said Cheramie. “The Glimcher Distinguished Visiting Professorship helps us go not just one step beyond what we can provide to the student, but many, many steps beyond.”

by Candi Clevenger, College of Engineering Communications, clevenger.87@osu.edu

Tags: Giving