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WVU School of Design and Community Development to host Day of Design

Matt Powers, 2018 Landscape Architecture Distinguished Alumnus   Terry Ryan, partner, Jacobs Ryan Associates and 2018 E. Lynn Miller Lecture  

The West Virginia University School of Design and Community Development will host its annual Day of Design on April 25, giving students an opportunity to showcase their work and learn from prominent design practitioners who will provide critique and serve as guest lecturers.


In previous years, the event involved only the landscape architecture program, but this year, it will also include the fashion, dress and merchandising program.


“This year’s event will integrate other disciplines in the School to celebrate the breadth of our programs and to draw parallels between design process and production,” said Peter Butler, director and associate professor of the School of Design and Community Development and Extension Specialist in community design and landscape architecture.


Day of Design will kick off at noon in the Agricultural Sciences Building with a lecture by Matthew Powers, a WVU landscape architecture alumnus and associate professor and director of landscape architecture and undergraduate programs in the School of Agriculture at Clemson University. Powers will also be honored as the 2018 Landscape Architecture Distinguished Alumnus.


“Since the landscape architecture program’s 50th anniversary, we have honored distinguished alumni,” Butler said. “Through Matt Powers sharing his experience – from his undergraduate days at WVU to earning his master’s and doctorate from Virginia Tech – our students will be able to see one of the potential paths they can take after graduation.”


Throughout the afternoon, landscape architecture and fashion, dress and merchandising students will display their work on the third and fourth floors of the Agricultural Sciences Building as they welcome feedback and discussion with visitors.


At 4:30 p.m., Terry Warriner Ryan, partner at Jacobs/Ryan Associates in Chicago, will present the annual E. Lynn Miller Lecture in room 1021, South Agricultural Sciences Building. The lecture, endowed in 2002 by alumnus E. Lynn Miller, brings prominent speakers in the field of landscape architecture to the University. Ryan’s professional practice has been in landscape architectural planning, design and consultation to governmental agencies, corporations, developers and owners.


“Lynn Miller’s establishment of this lecture series provides a valuable enhancement to our program, bringing students closer to the practice of landscape architecture and showing them how what they are learning fits into their future professional lives,” Butler said. “It is a great pleasure to welcome Terry Ryan to campus to share her important work in Chicago and beyond.”


Also at 4:30 p.m., fashion, dress and merchandising guest judges will make presentations, followed by an awards presentation, in room 4004 in the Agricultural Sciences Building. This year’s guest judges are Danny Noble, fashion designer; Jo Kallal, fashion designer and professor; and Joan Bernard, fashion business entrepreneur.


“I think anytime we have an opportunity as a School to open our doors and share the work of our students with outside critics, alumni and faculty from other programs, it is a win-win situation,” Butler said. “Students feel the excitement of presenting their work, and those visiting contribute their knowledge to the students’ learning experience.”


Jake Bolen, senior landscape architecture major, sits at the drawing table in his studio class

Jake Bolen, senior landscape architecture major, knows first-hand the value of this event. 


“I’ve had the opportunity to go through three different ‘Days of Design’ in the past and can honestly say they’ve had a great impact on my learning experience,” Bolen said. “And, what I’ve taken from these events is probably completely different from what some of my classmates have gained from this.”


Each year brought a new perspective for this Beckley native.


“I remember my first one as a freshman,” he recalled. “I was walking around, looking at all the work on display and thinking, ‘there’s no way I’m going to be able to do this.’


“But the more I walked around and talked with people about their projects, I began to feel motivated and inspired. And now, as a senior, I’m still a little intimidated, but appreciate how this event forces us to be confident in our designs.”


Bolen also appreciates the visiting lecturers, sharing how this part of the event serves as a final “motivational push” for seniors.


“It’s really inspiring to see what they’ve done and where they are now since they’ve graduated college,” he said.


The public is invited to attend, and for more information, contact Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture Lisa Orr, coordinator of this year’s Day of Design.


Pictured above, top to bottom: Matthew Powers (left), 2018 Landscape Architecture Distinguished Alumnus; Terry Warriner Ryan, 2018 E. Lynn Miller Lecturer; Jake Bolen, senior landscape architecture major. 


CONTACT: Nikky Luna, Communications Manager, WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design 304-293-2394;