With the aspiration of promoting engagement of the alumni community and advancing the Graduate School of Design’s impact in the world, the Alumni Council is the primary representative body of the GSD. These distinguished practitioners and academics are highly engaged in contemporary design, planning issues, and their communities’ professional, governmental, civic, and business affairs. Council members provide a strong link between the walls of Gund Hall and the world beyond. Through elevating the role of alumni and the School in the lives of the GSD alumni community, the Council builds a strong sense of lifelong community and support for the GSD.

These volunteer leaders offer their time and expertise in this way allows them to remain connected to the GSD to make the case for the power of the alumni design community and its impact on Harvard and the world. Regional ambassador events such as conversing on design and the unknown at Bruce Mau Design in Toronto; drawing, eating and talking at Lehrer Architects LA; and a panel discussion on the Hudson Yards hosted by Related Companies in New York are among the many events Alumni Council members hosted in 2015-2016. Current students, who are “alumni-in-training,” benefit from Council members’ mentorship through reviews of their portfolios, networking, and other events while learning about the value of being an engaged alumnus upon their graduation.

The 2016-17 Council membership is comprised of 50 GSD alumni spanning a wide array of fields, demographics, and regions – members hail from thirteen states and five countries, representing seven GSD programs and hold degrees bridging six decades. Members serve three-year renewal terms beginning July 1, plus serve in additional volunteer roles at the School and Harvard University, to keep the Council remaining active and vibrant. Allyson Mendenhall, who joined the Council in 2008, took the helm as Chairwoman as of July 1, 2016. To read more about her vision for the Council and initiatives that combine both grounded and visionary ideas and approaches, please read the Alumni Q&A.

The Council is pleased to welcome nine new members, three of whom are returning as formerly Emeriti members of the Alumni Council. The new members bring a wealth of experience in the arts, real estate, logistics, and architecture to serve from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019.


Cathy Deino Blake MLA ’77, Director of Campus Planning and Design, Stanford University
Cathy Blake, FASLA, LEED AP, has been an active leader in the field of Landscape Architecture with a career spanning 40 years. In the early years, she co-founded the San Francisco office of POD, Inc. which ultimately became Sasaki Associates. At Peter Walker and Partners she was a project manager and the Partner responsible for the firm’s first Process Architecture publication and the merger with William Johnson.

j. kaderJaya Kader MArch ’88, Founder and Principal, KZ architecture
A registered architect in Florida, Jaya Kader is the founder and principal of KZ architecture, a Miami-based practice founded in 2003. The firm is committed to design excellence and sustainable building practices, with a focus on custom home residential design and a philosophy rooted in context, and purpose. She is involved with local and national AIA and a member of the AIA Committee on Design Advisory Group and chairs its sponsorship committee.

thomas_luebke_2015-crop-BWThomas Luebke MArch ’91, Secretary, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
Thomas Luebke has served since 2005 as the Secretary of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the federal design review agency for the nation’s capital. As the executive director of the agency, he has edited the 2013 book, Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; he initiated and guided the National Capital Framework Plan, 2009, a major federal planning effort to extend the commemorative core of the National Mall, in cooperation with the National Capital Planning Commission.

Richard20Murphy_BWRichard T. Murphy MLA ’80, President / CEO, Murphy Logistics
Richard Murphy is a Landscape Architect and President / CEO of Murphy Logistics, an asset based 3PL that provides distribution, transportation, warehousing and value-added services for domestic and international clients. He also runs a rigging/millwright firm and numerous real estate entities. He is the 4th generation of Murphy to run the family enterprises since its founding in 1904.

Ostberg_v2Ron Ostberg MArch ’68, HAA Executive Committee
Former Alumni Council Chairman from 2010-2013, Ron Ostberg joined The Stubbins Associates in 1984, which later merged to be Kling Stubbins. His portfolio of work includes the Embassy and Ambassador’s Residence for the U.S. Department of State in Singapore, the Landmark Tower in Yokohama, Japan, and three major projects at Vanderbilt University. He currently serves as a Member-at-Large for the HAA’s Executive Committee to provide oversight of the affairs of the HAA.

r-poblete_webRyley Poblete MArch ’14, Architectural Designer, Gensler & Associates
Ryley Poblete, LEED AP, is an architectural designer at Gensler in Houston, Texas. There he works on large scale projects ranging from corporate, mixed use, and institutional work with a focus on urban design and planning. Prior to Gensler Ryley worked for seven years at HOK on a range of projects spanning from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to Chevron’s proposed corporate headquarters expansion in downtown Houston.

Mark-Rios_GSD-Headshot_webMark Rios MArch ’82, MLA ’82
Formally trained in both architecture and landscape architecture, Mark Rios has long seen those two disciplines as inseparable. He founded Rios Associates in 1985, now renamed Rios Clementi Hale Studios, with a singular vision: to imagine, design, and build complete environments. Under his leadership, the firm quickly developed an international reputation for its groundbreaking multidisciplinary approach to all its commissions.

P.RutherfordParis Rutherford MAUD ’93, Principal, Catalyst Urban Development
Paris Rutherford is Principal of Catalyst Urban Development, a Dallas-based real estate company focused on the creation of Great Places through experiential, economic and social success. Following this mission, Catalyst has arranged over $2.3B in transactions since 2009 and is currently developing $300M in transit-oriented, urban residential and mixed-use projects through both traditional and public/private financing.

Kristina+Yu_webKristina Yu MArch ’95, Principal, McCLAIN+YU Architecture & Design and Professor, School of Architecture and Planning at theUniversity of New Mexico
Kristina Yu is a principal with the office of McCLAIN+YU Architecture & Design in Albuquerque, NM. McCLAIN + YU has architectural specialization primarily in institutional projects, particularly in laboratories, classrooms, research and administrative facilities, transportation buildings. Most recently, the office has been recognized for the container and community project of Green Jeans Farmery. 


The Council bid a fond farewell and thank you to Michael Lehrer, FAIA, MArch ’78, principal at Lehrer Architects LA, for his accomplished 2013-16 term as Chairman and the members rotating off or ending terms: Nathaniel Belcher MArch ’92; Teman Evans MArch ’04; Teran Evans MArch ’04; Sarah Graham MArch ’82; Michael Hickok MArch ’76; Michael Hricak MArch ’78; Cathleen McGuigan LF ’93; and James Wilson MArch ’93. The GSD is grateful for their passion and commitment to cultivating community and heightening awareness of the consequential role that the GSD plays in shaping the built environment.

Three members of the Alumni Council also play an active role as leaders and citizens of the broader University community by serving as the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) Board of Directors. Allyson Mendenhall MLA ’99 and Jennifer Luce MDesS ’94 began their second year of their terms as HAA Appointed Directors. Together, they represent the School, raising its profile with the HAA, sharing its mission broadly to fellow alumni leaders across the University, and demonstrating the work of GSD alumni in the world and the impact of design at Harvard and beyond. Additionally, former Alumni Council Chairman Ron Ostberg MArch ’68 serves as a Member-at-Large for the HAA’s Executive Committee to provide oversight of the affairs of the HAA.

To learn more about the Alumni Council, visit the Council’s webpage. Also, you can watch Alumni Council members and emeriti share a memorable GSD moment.