Laval Morris Garden

UR Project: Historical Restoration of USU's Passive Recreation Garden

As a part of the Honors Program, Jeremy Nelson (BLA 2010) was required to submit an undergraduate Honors Thesis. By submitting a thesis, Jeremy was able to delve deeply into his academic area of interest and make a meaningful contribution. He collaborated with Professor Michael Timmons, whose mentoring guided the process.

To prepare his undergraduate thesis, Jeremy was involved in the following types of activities:

  • Working closely with a faculty member
  • Research
  • Writing

And the process culminated in a public presentation of his work.


Jeremy Nelson's hard work led to the full rehabilitation of the USU Passive Recreation Garden. In addition, Jeremy was awarded the 2010 USU Undergraduate Research Award (Humanities Category).

Preparing an undergraduate thesis can be rigorous, but the benefits are plenty. Like many who have participated in the honors program, Jeremy possesses the tools and knowledge to embark upon a fulfilling career in the industry or academia.

His abstract is below, or see entire thesis.

Laval Morris was the founder of the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning department at USU. He is an important figure in the history of our university the state and intermountain region. One of the last remaining landscapes that he designed for the university is USU’s Passive Recreation Garden.

Over time the garden has become degraded, overrun by invasive plants and was almost completely destroyed in 2004. It is important to preserve and restore this garden because of its importance to Laval and to the history LAEP at Utah State University.

My thesis is a documentation of the gardens importance and its history, from conception to its current degraded state and everything in-between. I have re-discovered the original planting plan for the site, found old photographs, meeting minutes and other correspondences and conducted interviews of people who knew Laval and the garden and what it meant to him. As part of my thesis, I am also documenting and influencing the garden’s reconstruction and restoration plans for the future. From all this, I have put together as complete a story as I can.

-- Nelson, Jeremy, "Historical Restoration of USU's Passive Recreation Garden" (2010). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 56.


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