As we reflect on our last 50 years, we look forward to the next 50.
The University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (MAPP+D) has been using the time since the end of this milestone anniversary year as an opportunity to visit with alumni around the country. The goal of these visits was—and is—to learn about the lives and careers of alumni and gather their opinions and thoughts about the next 50 years while we continue to formulate our strategic plan.
The input collected from alumni and former faculty and staff is an invaluable resource for preparing the next generation of architects, planners, preservationists and real estate developers to be able to meet the challenges facing built environments.
During the summer of 2018, as Don Linebaugh commenced his appointment as the school’s interim dean, he joined newly-installed Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Relations Andrea Morris to visit alumni in the D.C./Baltimore area.
Later in the fall, their visits continued along the East Coast, where they met alumni at their work places, which varied from traditional architecture firms in New York City to software companies in Boston. The team connected with alumni from all four disciplines and heard repeatedly how positive their academic experiences were in their respective programs.
In January, Brian Kelly—Architecture Program Director and Associate Dean for Development & Faculty Affairs—joined the MAPP+D team as they traveled to California to visit alumni, build new friendships and reestablish old connections. The trip was also a chance to see firsthand the remarkable accomplishments of our graduates who make their home base on the other side of the country.
The trio began its excursion in Oakland, by hosting a brunch at the Terrace Room in the Lake Merritt Hotel, a beautiful 1927 Art Deco building with panoramic views of the mesmerizing Lake Merritt. The group of about a dozen alumni made for a good start to the West Coast “Alumni Roadshow.”
Heading off to Los Angeles, the group stopped to visit John Wright (B.ARCH ’92, M.ARCH ’97) at his Standing Sun Winery, which boasts two tasting rooms, an art gallery and a hip event venue in an industrial space outside Santa Barbara. While his is a non-traditional career path for most architecture alumni, the team was delighted to learn that John continues his historic properties-based architecture practice while he creates exceptional wine.
“People spoke incredibly highly about the school and the education they got,” Linebaugh says. “They could not say enough good things about the university and the campus community.”
Aside from catching up with alumni, trips like this present the chance to learn about how alumni are solving the challenges that face built environments. Brianne Steinhauser (B.ARCH ’99), Principal at Gunkel Architecture, is working to address the affordable housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay area by designing sustainable and community-oriented living spaces. Dan Millman (B.S. ECON ‘84) is co-founder of Turner Impact Capital, a Santa Monica-based real estate investment company focused on solving social problems by investing in community infrastructure in underserved communities throughout the U.S.
The alumni that the team met with are committed to helping MAPP+D students and providing a strong alumni network resource. Meeting with over 25 alumni over the course of a week allowed insight into affordable housing trends, as well as the need for students to have a background in interior architecture.
The MAPP+D team anticipates adding more stops on the “Alumni Roadshow” and plans to continue these efforts over the coming years. As they listen to alumni feedback they are able to gain valuable insight while building and reestablishing relationships that affect the planning, thinking and evolution of the school. They hope to see you in your town or city soon!
View an album of photos from the roadshow here.