University of Oregon

Department of Landscape Architecture


Historical Timeline


Oregon Agricultural College (OAC), now Oregon State University (OSU), offered a Landscape Gardening degree, the first of its kind west of the Mississippi.


The first professional landscape architecture program in the Pacific Northwest was established at the OAC.


Frederick A. Cuthbert joined Arthur Peck as landscape faculty at OAC.


The landscape architecture program was transferred to the University of Oregon in Eugene where it was expanded to a full five-year Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA), degree program. The University of Oregon hired Frederick A. Cuthbert.


The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) degree was established.


Cuthbert's 1940 development plan for a north entrance connecting into the heart of campus.

Cuthbert Plan

Before 1947

Students travelled to OSU for their third year of classes, taking advantage of the horticultural and soil science offerings of the land grant college.


The Committee on Education granted the program full accreditation.


The title of the department was Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.


Urban Planning became its own Department of Urban Planning, and in 1982 it merged with the public affairs program in the Wallace School of Public Affairs to form a new Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management. The department title changed to the Department of Landscape Architecture.


History of University of Oregon Landscape Architecture Department

For more than 50 years, the principal objective of the landscape architecture curriculum has been balancing a professional and liberal arts education. Oregon has a long history of educational experimentation in design. Studio courses have been ungraded and a cooperative, non-competitive educational environment has been fostered, exemplified in our system of 'reviews', not 'juries'. A major strength of Oregon's program has always been its rich liberal arts setting and its direct associations with architecture, planning, art, art education and history of art and architecture in a school that describes itself as being "about the history, teaching and practice of the arts."

In the 1970s the undergraduate curriculum, which had been relatively stable for more than 40 years, was revised in response to a rapidly expanding profession, new environmental awareness, an enlarged meaning of the concept of landscape, and challenges within the state to professional licensure. New courses were added in landscape planning analysis, landscape history and theory, and an environmental geologist joined a fundamentally design-oriented faculty to help 'design with nature'. In the 1990s, the teaching of landscape ecology had become central to the curriculum along with the use of digital tools at all levels. Two faculty joined the department in the 1960s, two in the 1970s, four in the 1980s, two in the 1990s, one in 2001, two in 2005, and one in 2010. The growing strength of the present program is a reflection of the talents and unique contributions of this group that includes individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience.

Faculty & Department Heads


Arthur Peck served as Landscape Architecture Department Head at OAC.


Fred A. Cuthbert (1902-1978) became program director at the University of Oregon and Dean of the School of Architecture & Allied Arts (now the College of Design). 
During that time the main faculty at the university were Wallace "Mac" Ruff (1912-1999) and George S. Jette (1910-2013).

The following is a list of Department Heads:


Jerome Diethelm


Kenneth I. Helphand


Ronald Lovinger


Robert Z. Melnick, FASLA


David Hulse


Cynthia Girling


Stanton Jones


Elisabeth "Liska" Chan


Bart Johnson


Further Information

For more information on Frederick Cuthbert's influence on the University of Oregon's Heritage Landscape Plan.