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Kathleen Bogaski Named 2015–16 Marie M. Bickham Chair of Landscape Architecture

kathleen bogaski

Kathleen Bogaski, 2015 Bickham Chair of Landscape Architecture (Photo by Jim Zeitz)

Kathleen Bogaski has been named the 2015–16 Marie M. Bickham Chair in Landscape Architecture at the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture (RRSLA). Bogaski comes to LSU from Cal Poly Pomona, where she recently taught the site engineering course, Introduction to Earthwork.

“Kathleen Bogaski brings to LSU a great deal of experience in contemporary issues and practice,” said RRSLA Interim Director Van Cox. “Her interest in landscape ecology and technology, and, in particular, water management, will also add to our students’ understanding of sustainability in design. Her specialty in therapeutic/healing gardens brings a sociocultural emphasis to her classes.”

Bogaski’s research and design practice, Bogaski Design Studios, focuses on site designs using low-water-consumption plantings and sustainable materials, landscape renovation and redesign, and creative surface-water management and reuse techniques. Her clients include the Watershed Conservation Authority in Los Angeles, where she assisted with the development of a master plan process for the Gateway Cities and Rivers Urban Greening Plan. The study area comprises approximately 227 square miles, which includes the watersheds of the lower Los Angeles, lower San Gabriel, and Rio Hondo rivers. The greening plan will be based on research and needs-based analysis, public outreach, and agency collaboration that will set the groundwork for a network of green connections between the Gateway Cities’ diverse natural areas and the cities’ various cultural, historic, and recreational resources and local population centers.


Bogaski holds a Bachelor of Science in horticulture and landscape architecture and a Master of Arts in education from Michigan State University and a Master in Landscape Architecture from the University of Michigan. Her master’s thesis focused on creative strategies for surface-water management and reuse in semi-arid and arid environments. She also has advanced training and certificates in healthcare garden design, fire-wise design, and quality management. She served for many years as a grader for the CLARB (Council of Landscape Architecture Registration Boards) exam for licensure as a professional landscape architect—required in all 50 states, British Columbia, Ontario, and Puerto Rico—and has assisted with licensing exam development and as an occupational analyst for the State of California Registration Board. Her research interests are in therapeutic gardens serving wounded veterans and children with autism; creative, sustainable landscape materials; and the use of surface water runoff as a resource in all environments.

Bogaski has more than 25 years of professional experience working at exceptional design firms including Design Workshop, Inc., EDAW/AECOM, and LDR (Land Design Research). Her professional project experience is in the design, documentation, and implementation of corporate and institutional campuses, public parks and zoos, urban streetscapes, resort and estate gardens, and in environmental and historic restoration. As the director of quality for the EDAW/AECOM Design, Planning + Economics group, Bogaski led the development of the quality management system, training program, and guidelines, achieving ISO 9001: 2008 certification for the EDAW offices worldwide. As part of this effort, Bogaski was responsible for the development of the project management, quality assurance, and risk management procedures and forms for all landscape architecture and planning projects.

As the 2015–16 Marie M. Bickham Chair, Bogaski will present a public lecture at the LSU College of Art & Design, and she will teach courses in the fall and spring semesters. Her fall courses include research-based healthcare garden design and site construction materials and methods. She will place special emphasis on site design, incorporating sustainable materials and site performance evaluation techniques through lectures, field research, and studio assignments.

“I believe in fostering a collaborative process among the students, a process that values and invites opinions but also allows for the development of individual creativity, leadership, and decision-making skills,” said Bogaski.

Her teaching goal is to produce graduates who use their technical skills and artistic and ecological sensitivities to both lead and challenge the profession.

About the Marie M. Bickham Chair
The Marie M. Bickham Chair was established in 2001 by Marie Bickham (1936–2012), whose generous endowment has benefited the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture by funding salary supplements and supporting other academic activities of the professorship, including instruction in research, equipment, materials, and faculty improvement. Marie Bickham’s gift to the school followed her long history of caring for nature and the environment. Her vision was to enrich the education of landscape architecture students in the hope that they would be the next generation to protect and preserve the beauty of nature. Dr. Neil Odenwald, retired faculty member (1972–97) and former director of RRSLA (1981–87), was instrumental in establishing the Bickham Chair. He and Marie Bickham collaborated on many projects to enrich Louisiana.

About LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture
The Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture has established an international reputation as one of America’s leading and consistently top-ranked programs. Part of the LSU College of Art & Design, the school offers Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture programs. For more than 70 years, the program has produced landscape architects who practice all over the world and participate in the full spectrum of the discipline. For more information, visit

America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools

lsu design intelligence rankingsFor the 17th consecutive year, DesignIntelligence is conducting their annual surveys of America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools. If you are a person in your firm who hires architects, interior designers, or landscape architects, you are invited to share your experiences and perspectives to strengthen design education. These annual rankings are today’s leading resource to rank architecture and design programs on the basis of their ability to prepare graduates for professional practice. You can access more information about the methodology and results of last year’s research at the DesignIntelligence website:

These short questionnaires will require approximately 10 minutes of your time. Please plan to finish the survey in one sitting; you will not be able to return to the survey at a later time. The responding party must be in a leadership position qualified to hire employees. If you are not qualified to complete this questionnaire on your firm’s behalf, we ask that you forward it on to a more appropriate person. Individual responses will be kept confidential but a listing of the responding firms will be published.

You may respond using the online surveys:


Landscape Architecture

Interior Design

The results  of  these  studies  will  be  published  in  the  17th annual edition of DesignIntelligence’s America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, to be released in November 2015.

As a special thanks to you for your contribution, DesignIntelligence will send you a PDF executive summary of the report in November.


The LSU School of Architecture

The LSU School of Architecture: Where Passion Becomes Genius

Pursue a Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture at one of the top NAAB-accredited architecture schools in the South. The rich cultural heritage and physical setting of Southeast Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Delta provide an invaluable resource for the study of architecture, resulting in an exploration of both local and global architectural ideas. Faculty and students engage in projects that use this ecologically, historically, and economically fertile environment as a context for design projects, service-learning activities, and research. In addition to learning how to make buildings, LSU School of Architecture students develop a sense of professionalism and leadership in shaping the world by learning how to see, think, and act creatively. Learn more at #lsusoa #imadethat

Department of Interior Design Receives Designation as a School

The LSU College of Art & Design is pleased to announce that the Board of Regents has approved the name change of the Department of Interior Design to the School of Interior Design.

“This is a well-deserved recognition of the work of the faculty, staff, students and leadership of the school,” said LSU College of Art & Design Dean Alkis Tsolakis.

The School of Interior Design’s Bachelor of Interior Design (BID) program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) and meets the education requirements for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam for licensure as an interior designer. The professionally oriented program focuses on commercial and corporate interiors. Students graduate with skills in critical thinking and creative and professional modes of communication as well as an understanding of the global context of design and the value of collaboration.

The school’s leadership has plans to establish a Master of Interior Design program in the near future.

LSU’s interior design program began in the Department of Fine Arts in 1970 and received its first five-year accreditation in 1977. The School of Interior Design was officially established in 1991, and successfully underwent reaccreditation in 2014. LSU’s interior design program has been ranked as one of the top 20 programs of its kind in the nation.

Today, the newly designated School of Interior Design joins the School of Architecture, the School of Art, and the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture to comprise the LSU College of Art & Design.

“LSU’s interior design program is one of the oldest and most-respected programs in the South,” said Associate Professor Tom Sofranko, interim director of the School of Interior Design and associate dean of the College of Art & Design. “This change in status from department to school is a fitting recognition and a strong confirmation of the exceptional work being carried out by our students and faculty.”

Visit for more information about LSU’s interior design program.

Jeremiah Ariaz a Finalist for MPS Fund for Documentary Photography

lsu school of art faculty jeremiah ariazBesides heading to Review Santa Fe this June 11–14, 2015, Jeremiah Ariaz, associate professor of photography at the LSU School of Art, has been selected as a finalist for a grant and his work is featured in two current exhibitions.

Ariaz was selected as a finalist for the New Orleans Photo Alliance’s Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography for his latest series on Louisiana Trail Riding Clubs. While riding his motorcycle in southern Louisiana last year, Ariaz encountered a large group of horseback riders.


“They commanded the road, and I pulled over for them to pass,” recalled Ariaz. I retrieved my camera from the saddlebag of my bike and took a few photographs as they rode by. A gentleman near the end of the procession waved encouraging me to join them. So began my ride with the Trail Riding Clubs.”

More photographs from the Louisiana Trail Riding Club series can be viewed at

The MPS Fund was created to honor the life and work of Michael P. Smith, one of New Orleans’ most legendary and beloved documentary photographers. The fund awards one $5,000 grant to a Gulf Coast photographer whose work combines artistic excellence and a sustained commitment to a long-term cultural documentary project.

More exciting news: LSU alumna Cate Sampson, who received her BFA from the LSU School of Art in 2012, was selected as the 2015 grant recipient for the MPS Fund for her photography series, All the Place You’ve Got.

lsu photography alumni work

Cate Colvin Sampson, All the Place You’ve Got

“Sampson’s All the Place You’ve Got grants us access to a haunting liminal space where we experience cultural persistence as well as a pervasive anxiety about an uncertain future,” stated Emma Raynes in a juror’s essay at “The photographic process Sampson has chosen to use for this story, a relatively fragile historical process, ensures that the viewer feels this tension between the solidity of the moment depicted in the image and the instability of the ecology and society she documents.”

Ariaz’s work is featured in two exhibitions this summer.

He has work in the show, Coming Into Focus: Emerging Southeastern Photographers, at Blue Spiral Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina, May 1–June 26, 2015.

According to the Mountain Xpress, Ariaz’s photographs explore “deteriorating and boarded-up architectural surfaces, namely in the post-2008 financial collapse . . . intensified by its lifelessness [Ariaz’s photography] . . . brings out he physicality of the facades.” [Read the entire review at]

A selection of Ariaz’s images are included in the exhibition, Westward Unbound: An Inclusive Exhibition of Western American Art, at the Center for the Arts Evergreen in Colorado, June 12–July 24, 2015. “This inclusive approach to an exhibition allows for a reframing of the historical Western Art boundaries. In this journey we are headed west, but this time, unbound, and truly free to explore.” Read more at


lsu interior design alumniAt the beginning of 2015, LSU alumna Dru Lamb (BID 2003) made quite a career change. Lamb has spent the last 12 years of her life as a designer, mostly working for architecture and design firms. Now, she finds herself in a leadership role in the sales and manufacturing side of the industry. But for Lamb’s creative yet logical mind, the problems to solve remain the same.

For Lamb, interior design has always been about problem solving. Her analytical brain has always drifted to logistics as a method for troubleshooting and brainstorming.

Earlier this year, she became the Louisiana Territory Manager at Herman Miller. She is essentially a manufacturer’s representative who informs the architecture and design communities, as well as end users, of any updates or research going on in the field.

“I update them on changes in the industry and help them plan and work on their projects,” Lamb said.

The New Orleans native started as an engineering major at LSU. “It was a lot of math and physics, and I just realized I did not want to come out of school and be a numbers cruncher.”

After two years, Lamb knew it was time for a change, so she looked at all of the available majors and thought about where she wanted to end up. As the daughter of an artist, she has always dabbled in art and even took classes in high school and college. Between her creative side and her analytical background, interior design seemed like the perfect fit.

“The way I was taught to think as an engineer was similar to how I approached things in interior design,” she said. “I have always had a logical thought process.”

However, she did notice the major difference in the classroom atmospheres. “There is nothing like the close-knit group you develop while working in studio,” Lamb recalled. “The camaraderie you develop with your peers is unlike other majors.”

After being at LSU for six years, she was ready to gain as much experience as she could in the workforce. Lamb interned at Mathes Brierre Architects in New Orleans during the latter part of her schooling and was eventually hired as a full-time designer after she graduated.

When hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Lamb was unsure of the state of her hometown, so she decided to take a gamble and move to New York.

“I had gotten an email from a friend who was working at Gensler in New York. She was encouraging people to apply for an opening the company had. I laughed it off for about a year—at the time, moving to New York seemed very far fetched.”

Once in New York, Lamb interviewed at Gensler and was hired as a designer. It was at this time when she passed the NCIDQ, the qualifying exam for interior designers.

After two years in New York, Lamb decided to move back to New Orleans. “My plan all along was to move back, but it was a difficult decision because I really liked my job,” she said. Lamb looks back and knows she made the right decision because the economic downturn hit almost three months later. “They had to let people go, and I probably would have been one of those people,” she said.

After returning to New Orleans she became a licensed interior designer and LEED Accredited Professional, and she was as a designer at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, where she remained for seven years.

“At Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, I was an interior designer and worked as a key project member. It was similar to my other jobs as I have always worked in conjunction with architects.”

That is something that Lamb says she has always considered one of her strengths—the ability to understand architectural solutions and using that knowledge to enhance interiors.

While at Gensler and Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, Lamb mostly worked on commercial, healthcare, and hospitality design. One of her favorite projects was Children’s Hospital in New Orleans where the firm designed the PICU and the NICU. She remembers enjoying the challenge of balancing the technical aspects of the medical field with the fun, child-like nuances.


“One thing about being an interior designer is you have to know how you do your job, but you also need to know how others do their jobs.”

Lamb decided she wanted a change, and in March of last year, she started working at Workplace Resource, a Herman Miller dealer in Louisiana. The following February, Lamb started working directly for Herman Miller.

“In design you are always selling yourself and your concept, and when I went to sales it was just a different type of selling,” Lamb said.

Lamb is supporting designers as opposed to being one, and that makes her an even better salesman because she understand what designers are looking for.

She credits her success in the field to the real life experiences she received both at LSU and through her internship. “The interior design program is fantastic at teaching you how to work in real life,” she said.

Lamb stressed how important it is for students to apply what they learn in school as every firm operates differently. “It is ultimately a business, and you need to learn the administrative aspect as well as the creative parts.”

Lamb wants young people in the profession to remember the field is not just about the finishes and the “pretty stuff.” Instead, she encourages them to delve deeper in order to understand the architecture and codes behind what it is they are designing.

“It really will improve your understanding of your craft as well as improve your ability to speak intelligently about what you are working on and your profession.”

Lamb is also active within the larger interior design community. She has been on the IIDA board for the past seven years and has held various executive positions. Additionally, Lamb is on the Louisiana State Board of Interior Designers, the licensing body of the profession within the state.

Her work in both the business and creative side of the industry reflects her passion for her craft. Although now, Lamb arguably has more impact, and after a career such as hers, it is undoubtedly something she appreciates.

“For me, it is all about the problem solving and coming up with creative solutions, and I still get to do that. Except now, I have more control and direction of my creativity.”

2015 OJ Baker Awards

lsu architecture oj baker

On Friday, May 1, 2015, LSU architecture students received dozens of medals and awards at the LSU School of Architecture OJ Baker Awards & Crawfish Boil, sponsored annually by the Baton Rouge Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. At this year’s celebration, Assistant Professor Jason Crow received the AIAS Award for Outstanding Teaching. OJ Baker competition winners and awards recipients are listed below.

OJ Baker Competition Winners:

  • 1st Place: Jeremy Jackson
  • 2nd Place: Jacob Thevenot
  • 3rd Place: Molly Johnson
  • Honorable Mention: Sarah Patterson & Ben Champagne

AIA Henry Adams Award

Each year the AIA awards an engraved medal and certificate of merit to the top-ranking graduating student in each architecture program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. A certificate of merit is awarded to the second-ranking graduating student.

Undergraduate Recipients:

  • AIA Henry Adams Medal: Harrison Daigle
  • AIA Henry Adams Certificate: Tyler Detiveaux

Graduate Recipients:

  • AIA Henry Adams Medal: James Canales
  • AIA Henry Adams Certificate: JaLeesa Sims-Smith

Alpha Rho Chi Medal & Certificate: 

JaLeesa Sims-Smith

In 1931, the Grand Council of Alpha Rho Chi established the Alpha Rho Chi Medal to “encourage professional leadership by rewarding student accomplishment.” A certificate and medal is awarded to a graduating student who has shown an affinity for leadership and performed willing service for the school or department and who shows promise of real professional merit through his or her attitude and personality. The Alpha Rho Chi Medal is awarded annually to graduating students at accredited schools of architecture in the United States and Canada and at schools with an active chapter of Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity.

ARCC King Medal

Nathaniel Frank

Named in honor of the late Jonathan King, cofounder and first president of the Architectural Research Centers Consortium, the ARCC King Medal is given to one student per ARCC-member college, school, institute, or unit. Selection of recipients is at the discretion of the individual member institutions but is based upon criteria that acknowledges innovation, integrity, and scholarship in an architectural and/or environmental design research. The award may be made at either the graduate or undergraduate level. Students receive a certificate and a medal.

Technology Awards

  • Nathaniel Frank
  • Tyler Detiveaux

Selected annually by the LSU School of Architecture faculty teaching in the building technology sequence, technology awards are based on student performance in technology coursework. Up to two, typically graduating, students each receive a book and certificate.

W. Heck History Award

Christopher James

Selected annually by LSU School of Architecture faculty teaching in the architectural history sequence, the R. W. Heck History Award is based on student performance in history coursework. The student receives a book and certificate.

Digital Media Award

Cody Drago

The Digital Media Award is given to the best overall student utilizing digital media.

Year Level Design Awards

Year Level Design Awards are selected annually by the faculty teaching the relevant year, based on student performance in each year’s studio. Each year, one award is given to a student in each year level.

Undergraduate Awards:

  • First-Year Award & Academic Achievement: Madeline Luke
  • Second-Year Award & Michael Robinson Scholarship: Zachary McLain
  • Third-Year Award & Academic Achievement: James Babin
  • Fourth-Year Award & Michael Robinson Scholarship: Aimee Richard
  • Fifth-Year Award & Michael Robinson Scholarship: Chris Doiron

Graduate Awards

  • First-Year Award & Academic Achievement: Yingxue Wang
  • Second-Year Award & Academic Achievement: Kathleen Autillio
  • Third-Year Award & Academic Achievement: Landon Pugh

Summer Camps for Pre-College Students Interested in Animation and Design


Do you think you want to be an architect, interior designer, urban planner, or landscape architect? Are you interested in learning about these professions and more before you decide on a college major?

The LSU College of Art & Design is hosting three summer camps for high school students interested in pursuing careers in the design professions: Architecture Camp (June 14–19), NOMA’s Project Pipeline Camp (August 6–9), and—for the first time ever—Landscape Architecture Explorations Summer Camp (July 13–17). And, for girls entering grades six through eight who are interested in learning more about what careers are available in science and technology, the LSU Center for Computation & Technology is hosting Alice in Computation Land (June 22–26).

Explore your options in one or more design camps at LSU this summer!

Architecture Camp

lsu architecture campArchitecture Camp is an exciting chance for high school students entering grades 10th–12th to discover the world of design and architecture. Explore basic design principles and techniques to create hands-on building and model-making activities while working with faculty and LSU School of Architecture students on real-life projects! Tour the unique architecture and landscape architecture of the LSU campus and visit construction sites and local architecture firms.

This one-week, residential workshop on LSU’s campus is sponsored by the LSU College of Art & Design and the LSU School of Architecture. Read more about Architecture Camp.

Camp Dates: Sunday–Friday, June 14–19, 2015

Course Fee: $795 (includes full program, housing, and meals)

View a sample schedule.

Registration is still open. Register NOW!

Project Pipeline Camp

lsu architecture campEach summer, the LSU School of Architecture hosts Project Pipeline, a day camp for 8th–12th grade students interested in pursuing an education and career in architecture and other design professions. Meet the people, professions, and ideas that make up the design profession. Work individually and collaboratively to address community focused issues through creativity and design innovation. Create the building blocks of a better city and design a community that reflects your academic, cultural, and design interests!

Project Pipeline is a mentorship program established by the National Organization of Minority Architects designed to encourage equality within the profession and introduce young students interested in the world of architecture and design to the profession. Read more about Project Pipeline Camp.

Camp Dates: August 6–9, 2015

Course Fee: $75 (includes daily lunch, snacks, and all materials and supplies)

Course fee is $50 if you register by May 31! Registration deadline is June 30, 2015.

Register NOW.

Landscape Architecture Explorations Camp

Hilltop_02Landscape Architecture Explorations: Design Ideas into Action is a weeklong day camp that takes place at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum. Developed by the faculty of the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture for high school students age 14–18, the camp explores landscape architecture, an exciting profession that encourages creative expression and critical thinking and inspires civic responsibility. Attend individually tutored design and drawing workshops, information sessions, and lectures by advanced professionals and faculty. Tour the unique architecture and landscape architecture of the LSU campus, professional design offices, and award-winning project sites in the greater Baton Rouge area. And learn about the profession that focuses on the planning, design, and preservation of built and natural environments from gardens to rural landscapes to urban parks and infrastructure.

Come find out if landscape architecture is right for you! Read more about Landscape Architecture Camp.

Camp Dates: Monday–Friday, July 13–17, 2015

Course Fee: $125 (includes program, supplies, transportation, and lunch on Friday)

View schedule.

Register by June 30, 2015!

Alice in Computation Land

lsu alice in computation landAlice in Computation Land is a five-day workshop at the LSU Digital Media Center, sponsored by the LSU Center for Computation & Technology (CCT), for girls entering grades six through eight who are interested in learning more about computational science and technology. Learn how to use computer applications in your daily lives and take a glimpse into what careers are available in the world of science and technology. The curriculum includes web-page creation and basic html; animation; computer modeling and simulation; guest speakers on research, women in business, and education; and more!

Read more about Alice in Computation Land Summer Camp.

Camp Dates: Monday–Friday, June 22–26, 2015

Course Fee: $70 (includes supplies, lunches, and snacks)

Register NOW! 

View more LSU pre-college summer programs at 

Visit the College of Art & Design

If you are interested in pursuing an education and career in art and design but cannot attend summer camp—never fear—our doors are always open! Visit campus and meet the director or chair of your program of interest. LSU College of Art & Design counselors will facilitate and schedule a time for you to tour the school or the department you are interested in visiting. Visit for more information.

Honoring School of Art Retirees Kimberly Arp, Christopher Hentz, and Thomas Neff


As we continue to celebrate our spring 2015 LSU College of Art & Design graduates, the LSU School of Art is also celebrating the graduation of three men who are truly Masters of Fine Art. Three members of the LSU College of Art & Design faculty are retiring, all after more than 30 years of service:

  • Professor Christopher Hentz, master jewelry maker and digital fabricator, has taught in the School of Art for 39 years;
  • Professor Kimberly Arp, master printmaker in both traditional and digital media has taught for 38 years; and
  • Professor Thomas Neff, master photographer, also in traditional and digital modes, has taught for 33 years.

Of course, these faculty members have all done a great deal more than teach.

They have each maintained a national and international studio practice. They’ve stepped out across the country and across the world to launch solo and group exhibitions, to give lectures, to act as jurors, consultants, visiting artists, and critics. They’ve served on committees—both graduate and administrative. They’ve written and been written about. But most important of all, “They’ve coached and counseled, celebrated or commiserated—they’ve inspired multiple generations of young artists,” said LSU School of Art Director Rod Parker.

The end of their teaching at LSU doesn’t by any means mean the end of life. As emeritus faculty, they will always be welcomed by the LSU College of Art & Design—by future and former students, colleagues, and alumni. Just as their careers have undergone constant renewal and change, they will continue to have periods of transformational creative growth and personal development. “They are all three embarking on a new path of mastery, leading the way for us to follow,” Parker added.

Join us in celebrating the amazing careers of these three remarkable faculty.

May 2015 Commencement Speech by Grégor Trumel, Consul General of France


The College of Art & Design is excited to share the 2015 spring commencement speech delivered by Consul General of France in Louisiana Grégor Trumel at graduation ceremony on May 15, 2015.

FrenchConsul_LogoIt is a great honor and tremendous pleasure to be here today and to be invited to address such a distinguished audience: the graduating class of LSU’s College of Art & Design. Thank you very much—merci beaucoup—Dean Tsolakis, for your invitation, which I will never forget. Wearing this honorable regalia makes me feel clever and intelligent.

Today is a very important day. This is a milestone that you have worked very hard for—with many long hours and sacrifices. You have earned it!

I graduated from Sciences Po (Political Sciences Institute) in 1997 . . . and I feel old, suddenly! Fifteen years ago, I entered into a diplomatic career. This was not by chance. It was a strong and long-term dream of mine, an opportunity to experience different cultures and meet different people with different ways of speaking, thinking, and living.

I could have myself become an architect, perhaps, but in France, we already have the Eiffel Tower, and we don’t need a second Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Louisiana has always been and will always be an international state. Influences here are so rich and diverse: Spain, United Kingdom, Canada, Haiti, Africa, Native American, German, Irish—the list is long! Many of you come from families with French and Acadian roots. But as our state is international, its graduates inherit a mission: to be able to live, work, and flourish in a globalized world. This means being open to new ideas, experience other cultures, and adapt to change even when, sometimes, it isn’t so easy to do.

Your graduating class has already taken on this mission. While your program makes up three percent of LSU’s student body, you are responsible for 25 percent of its international travel. That’s impressive! Some of you may have spent time in France. I hope so! It’s a brave thing to venture outside of your home and represent your community in an unfamiliar place. As a diplomat, I understand that experience well.

French architects have been famous all around the world in the past decades: Le Corbusier, Jean Nouvel, Jacques Ferrier, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, or, recently, Rudy Riccioti, whose achievements in Marseille for the Musée des Civilisations de la Médtierranée (MUCEM) is a masterwork. In Denmark where I was posted before being appointed as consul general in Louisiana, I discovered the art of design: Arne Jakobsen, Poul Henningsen . . . I am a fan. This art of making beauty out of daily objects, tools, and things is an enchanting gift. In Paris I was lucky enough to meet Philippe Starck, who has been a pioneer since the 1970s. I have discovered the work of great architects here in Louisiana, as well, such as A. Hays Town, for instance, who was born in Crowley and raised in Lafayette.

You know, architects and artists are special people. They are assets to our society and have skills that are truly unique. You are engineers, inventors, designers, and artisans. To do your job, you must have a respect for the environment, an appreciation for your community, and a global vision. Our state needs artists and innovators that are able to integrate modernity and sustainability with Louisiana’s rich cultural history and landscape.

A friend of mine, an architect and politician here in Louisiana, told me that architects have perhaps the best profile to become leaders and to make great political careers. An architect must know the rules of nature and respect human laws and legislation. He or she must adapt and adjust to the environment, taking the wishes of the client into account while being creative and innovative and, of course, respecting a budget!

Due to the drastic effects of climate change, this state struggles against rising sea levels, eroding shorelines, and severe storms. As graduates of this prestigious program, you have the tools and the knowledge to contribute to a sustainable solution on a major level.

And you do. Programs such as the Coastal Sustainability Studio at the College of Art & Design are essential resources to future professionals. Here, you combine art, engineering, and environmental studies to envision sustainable systems for our community. Combined with foreign language skills, students like you make up the heart of a very bright future for the economy and infrastructure of Louisiana.

As you know, France was a major influence on the art and architecture of this state at its very beginning. Now, in this new period of growth, France can continue to be a source of impact and inspiration.

To conclude, I would say that as future professionals, your training and knowledge of the world will make you an active part of this movement. At LSU, your experience has prepared you to conquer academic, professional, and personal challenges and to serve as active and caring members of your community, your family, and your country. Now, with this training, you are ready to go out and show the world what you’re made of!

Thank you very much for your attention and for giving me the opportunity to address you on such a special day. Congratulations, félicitations, et bonne route dans la vie!

lsu art and design commencement

About Grégor Trumel

Appointed by the president of the French Republic, Trumel assumed his duties as consul general of France in Louisiana in August 2014. He previously served as first counselor, press counselor, and deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of France in Denmark, and has also served in Paris and the Netherlands. Joining the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2000, Trumel has gained significant professional expertise in European diplomacy, particularly during the period of the Danish presidency of the European Union in 2012. He specializes in human resources and was head of executive management in Paris, a position that oversaw the activities of ambassadors, directors, and consul generals. A graduate of Sciences-Po (Political Studies Institute), Trumel has also studied economics and literature. He is passionate about modern music, especially the music of Louisiana—Cajun, zydeco, and rhythm ‘n blues.

LSU College of Art & Design Dean Alkis Tsolakis presented Trumel with an Honor Award for continuing the consulate’s 212-year tradition of preserving and enriching the cultural heritage of the state of Louisiana.

Read more about spring 2015 commencement.