In the Beginning

The College of Art & Design has a long history at LSU that dates back to the 1930s.

In 1933, the first inklings of an architecture program began with the establishment of the Department of Architectural Engineering, which offered a four-year curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering. The current program in architecture is the lineal descendent of architectural engineering studies. The five-year professional Bachelor of Architecture was approved in June 1961, and the Department of Architecture was accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board the same year.

The appointment of four faculty members in 1934–35 signaled the beginning of the fine arts program as a service area in the College of Arts & Sciences. At that time, fine arts offered programs and major areas in painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, design technology, and art history. The Department of Fine Arts also fostered the embryonic program in interior design.

Landscape architecture originated in 1941 as a series of courses within the Department of Horticulture, thanks to one man, Dr. Robert Reich. In 1958, coursework in a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture with a major in landscape design was approved, and in 1960, a four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture was authorized. This was changed in 1966 to a five-year professional degree leading to the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture.

What we now refer to as the College of Art & Design began on February 11, 1965, when a resolution by the LSU Board of Supervisors established the School of Environmental Design. Initially the school comprised the departments of architecture and landscape architecture, which had been at the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture, respectively. Professor Gerald McLindon was named the first dean of the school.

In 1966, the Department of Fine Arts was transferred from the College of Arts & Sciences to the School of Environmental Design, bringing together the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and fine arts for the first time at LSU. For a brief time, 1967–75, the Department of Construction was housed in the School of Environmental Design before the program was transferred to the LSU’s General College. The interior design program began in the Department of Fine Arts in 1970 and applied for initial provisional accreditation in 1975. The program received its first five-year accreditation in 1977.

In 1979, the School of Environmental Design was reorganized as the College of Design and included the new schools of architecture, art, and landscape architecture. All department head titles were changed to director.

Between 1979 and 1991, the graduate program in landscape architecture was accredited (1982); Emory Smith donated Hilltop Arboretum to the School of Landscape Architecture (1983); the Design Building was completed (1984); a graduate program in architecture was approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents (1985); the graphic design program began within the School of Art (1986); and the School of Interior Design was officially established (1991).

In 2001, the College of Design was changed to the College of Art & Design, and by this time, comprised the School of Architecture, the School of Art, and the School of Landscape Architecture. Over the years, the interior design program had moved from the Department of Fine Arts to the Department of Architecture to being established as the School of Interior Design (1991) until it was briefly merged within the School of Art in 2001. Departmental status was reinstated in 2002, and the department was designated as the School of Interior Design in 2015. In 2007, the School of Landscape Architecture was renamed the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, after the founder and director of the program.

Today, the College of Art & Design comprises the School of Architecture, School of Art, School of Interior Design, and the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture.

At Greater Length

Many changes have occurred since the beginning of the college that shaped the LSU College of Art & Design as it stands today. View a complete timeline dating back to 1933 or review the college’s history organized by deans and directors.

College of Art & Design Timeline
Deans/Directors of the College of Art & Design