Academic journal article Planning for Higher Education

SCUP at 50: Some Thoughts from a Charter Member

Academic journal article Planning for Higher Education

SCUP at 50: Some Thoughts from a Charter Member

Article excerpt

My hope is that this narrative will be both a meaningful contribution to the society's 50th anniversary celebration and the beginning of a tradition that will create a personal, as well as an official, history of the society.

PROLOGUE

I HAVE OFTEN OBSERVED that campus planners are so busy creating the future that they rarely take the time to recall the past. This is truly unfortunate for the history of SCUP. Many of our charter members, including three principal founders, have passed away without recording their own memories and reflections on the origins and early days of the society. My purpose in writing the narrative that follows is to remedy this situation with respect to at least one charter member. It is my sincere hope that others like Ira Fink, Cal Audrain, Bob Simha, etc., will follow suit so that a firsthand personal record of the early days of SCUP can be created.

This is not an attempt to create a comprehensive and balanced history of the society. It is simply a set of personal recollections of the major events and minor anecdotes that I recall from SCUP's various eras. It reflects my own personal perspective and point of view. However, if other members of the society do the same thing, a more complete and well-rounded picture of SCUP's evolution, and in particular its early days, can be created. My hope is that this narrative will be both a meaningful contribution to the society's 50th anniversary celebration and the beginning of a tradition that will create a personal, as well as an official, history of the society.

INTRODUCTION

When I was informed not long ago that Dick Dober had passed away, I began to think back to the beginnings of SCUP and my own relationship to the society over the course of its development. Dick was a friend and respected colleague whose work in the field of campus planning I greatly admired. He was a fellow charter member, and his loss started me thinking about my own introduction to the field of campus planning and the origins of SCUP. My connection with campus planning dates back to my days in graduate school at Cornell where I took a course in campus planning given by Professor K. C. Parsons. I was fascinated by the subject; it seemed to address a number of my interests--planning, urban design, architecture, historic preservation, and site design and landscaping. I became so interested in this subject that I changed the topic of my master's thesis from waterfront planning to campus design. (I was later pleased that Professor Paul V. Turner's book Campus: An American Planning Tradition [Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984] came to the same conclusions that I had in my thesis.) I remember Professor Parsons mentioning that there was a group of campus planners who met from time to time to discuss mutual problems, and he even gave me a few names in case I wanted to explore job opportunities in the field.

After graduation I accepted a position with Marcou, O'Leary and Associates, a planning consulting firm in Washington, DC. I worked on a variety of projects, including the development plan for the area around Syracuse University in upstate New York. This renewed my interest in campus planning. In 1965 I saw an ad for the position of assistant university planner at the University of Michigan and decided to apply for it. I was invited for an interview in fall 1965 where I met Jack Telfer who would become my boss and who was also one of the principal founders of SCUP. I was offered the position and accepted. On January 1, 1966, I drove from Washington, DC, to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to become a part of the university that would be my home for the remainder of my professional career.

During the first part of that year I was consumed by learning the culture, traditions, personalities, and planning and design issues facing the institution I had recently joined. I also learned from Jack about the new professional society that he was in the midst of creating along with a number of others, including my former professor K. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.