Departmental History

NFS Grant

Our History

At the end of spring term of 1939, four students and an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture packed up their bags and equipment and moved the only program of Landscape Architecture in the Intermountain West from BYU to Utah State Agricultural College. The relocated department opened its doors for business in Logan fall term, 1939, and fielded its first graduating class, 50% male / 50% female (there were two graduates!) in June 1940.

The professor was Laval Sidney Morris, founder and Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning (LAEP) at USU for 25 years, until his retirement in June, 1964. He remained active in wood sculpture, travel, and writing until his death in 1983.

It has been over 70 years since then and how we’ve grown! From the handful of students who pioneered the program in 1939, we have spawned an alumni list of over 1200 graduates scattered throughout the US and numerous foreign countries. From crowded, poorly lit accommodation in the Plant Industry Building, our physical facilities have gradually improved from the basement of Old Main and the Mechanic Arts Building to our modern facilities in the Fine Arts Visual Building.

We certainly do have much to be proud of, but nothing more so than the accomplishments of you, our alumni, former faculty, and friends. Your contributions to the planning and design of our environment have improved the quality of life in Utah, the Intermountain West, and indeed throughout the nation and world. The collective success of our “Aggie LAEP family” in public, private, and academic practice have built the reputation we hold today. Having established a solid historical foundation, the Department eagerly anticipates the challenges of the future.

75th Anniversary Celebration

In August, 2014 the department is planning a celebration and alumni reunion August 29 through the 31st. For more information please view our 75th celebration website.

Interviews with past professors, Craig Johnson, Vern Budge, Richard Toth and others can be viewed on via USU Archives.  LAEP graduate student Aaron Smith completed the interviews and a 75th history book for his 2015 masters thesis.