GSD Alumni Council Award Recipients
The GSD Alumni Council Award honors outstanding leadership by GSD alumni, underscoring the essential role GSD graduates play in leading change around the world. Founded and led by the GSD Alumni Council, the award recognizes and celebrates the diversity, leadership, range, and impact of GSD alumni within their communities and across their areas of practice.
A celebration of the 2021 and 2022 winners will take place on Friday, Sept. 16, during the GSD Comeback: Alumni & Friends Celebration, which will be Sept. 16-17, 2022. This event is free and open to all.
Chelina Odbert MUP ’07–An urban planner by training, Chelina is a Founding Principal and CEO of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), a nonprofit design practice committed to building a more just public realm. While still at the GSD, Chelina and 5 classmates launched the interdisciplinary initiative to expand equity and inclusivity in places that have long been overlooked or actively harmed by traditional design and planning approaches. She has written extensively about KDI’s community-engaged approach to planning and design in the U.S. and abroad, and has held teaching appointments at the GSD and UCLA. Chelina and her work have been recognized by notable institutions including the Van Alen Institute, Ashoka Changemakers, the Aspen Institute, and The Architectural League of New York.
Donald L. Stull MArch ’62 (in memoriam) and M. David Lee MAUD ’71–Donald, an African-American pioneer in architecture, established the award-winning Stull and Lee Inc. (S+L) architecture, design, and planning firm in 1966. Before his death in 2020, Donald was a member of the distinguished College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, and recipient of the Boston Society of Architects 1997 Award of Honor. With David at the helm as S+L’s president, the firm has continued its leadership in the design of multi-family housing, educational and health care institutions, office buildings, retail, and manufacturing facilities. David is a fellow in the American Institute of Architects and is a past president of the Boston Society of Architects. He was the recipient of the BSA’s 2000 Award of Honor.
Allyson Mendenhall FASLA, AB ’90, MLA ’99–Serving as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Sasaki, a landscape architecture, civil engineering, and ecology practice, Allyson is a LEED-certified licensed landscape architect. In addition to her role as past chair of the GSD Alumni Council, Allyson served on the Harvard Alumni Association Board Executive Committee as vice president of university-wide affairs and now serves as the president of the HAA — the first GSD alum to do so. She is also on the boards of the Denver Botanic Gardens and CU Denver College of Architecture and Planning.
Everett Fly MLA ’77–As the first African-American graduate of the Master in Landscape Architecture program, Everett Fly witnessed first-hand the lack of architectural scholarship centered on the African American experience. In response, Fly began the “Black Settlements in America Research Project,” setting in motion decades of groundbreaking design research focused on the history of black settlements across the United States. Fly is the recipient of the 2014 National Endowment for the Humanities National Humanities Medal and is recognized as a national leader whose work has transformed our collective understanding of the significance of black places and spaces across America.
Deanna Van Buren LF ’13–Deanna Van Buren is a nationally recognized activist architect leading the research, formulation, and advocacy of restorative justice centers, a radical transformation of the criminal justice system. Deanna sits on the national board of Architects Designs and Planners for Social Responsibility and is the co-founder and design director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, based in Oakland, California. Designing Justice + Designing Space is an innovative architecture and real estate development firm that designs restorative justice centers instead of prisons with the goal of ending the age of mass incarceration. Van Buren’s recent social impact work includes Restore, a multi-use hub for restorative justice and workforce development, The Pop-up Village—a mobile site activation tool and The Reem’s Re-entry Campus. Van Buren’s work has been featured at TED Women and the Women in Architecture Awards Honoring Pioneering Professionals. She received her BS in Architecture from the University of Virginia, M. Arch from Columbia University, and is an alumna of the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Jack Dangermond MLA ’69–Jack Dangermond is the founder and president of Esri. With a background in landscape architecture and urban design, he and his wife, Laura, founded Esri in 1969 on the idea that computer-based mapping and analysis could make significant contributions to geographic planning and environmental science. Since then, Esri has become the global market leader in GIS and location intelligence, with 49 offices worldwide, 11 dedicated research centers, and a user base of about 350,000 organizations around the world. Dangermond completed his undergraduate degree in landscape architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He then earned a Master in Urban Planning from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His early work in the school’s Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis (LCGSA) led directly to the development of Esri’s ARC/INFO GIS software. Dangermond has received many acknowledgments and awards for his contributions to the fields of geography, environmental science, planning, and GIS, including 13 honorary degrees and the Order of Orange- Nassau from the Dutch Government.