Lake Douglas Fall ’22 Commencement Speaker, To Retire

Douglas LakeLake Douglas, PhD, ASLA, is the LSU College of Art & Design fall commencement 2022 ceremony speaker. Associate dean of research and development and associate professor of landscape architecture at the College of Art & Design, Douglas has announced his retirement from LSU after over 15 years of service at the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture.

A licensed landscape architect, Douglas has published numerous articles; books and book chapters; critical essays; and reviews in national and international anthologies, professional journals, and popular publications about diverse topics within the design disciplines, and his writings have received national and regional recognition. Public Spaces, Private Gardens: A History of Designed Landscapes in New Orleans (2011) received honor awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects and its Louisiana chapter, together with the Williams Award from the Louisiana Historical Association. Recently published books include Steward of the Land: Selected Writings of Nineteenth-Century Horticulturist Thomas Affleck (2014) and Buildings of New Orleans (2018). Douglas is also series editor of Reading the American Landscape for LSU Press.

“When Lake was appointed as the associate dean for research and development, the college did not have an advanced doctoral program,” said Alkis Tsolakis, dean of the College of Art & Design. “It is due to Lake’s efforts and intellectual pursuits that we have this program now.”

“Sitting where you are now, 50 years ago, I could not have imagined where I would be today,” Douglas addressed the College of Art & Design graduates at the commencement ceremony December 16, 2022. “Savor the periods of growth and success, but don’t let artistic stability turn into creative stagnation. Remember: it’s not as much about reaching the destination as it is enjoying the ride, living in the moment, and learning from past success and failures as you chart a pathway forward.”

Douglas received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from LSU, a Master in Landscape Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design, and a PhD in Urban Studies/Urban History from the University of New Orleans. His dissertation investigated 19th-century horticultural commerce in New Orleans as an agency of community cohesion, and his current research involves documenting cultural landscapes of the Gulf South through investigations of public spaces, domestic gardens, people, and written evidence. Other areas of interest include enhancing communities through cultural development, using research skills to inform design strategies, and developing communication skills in design through effective writing.

Douglas is also actively involved in grassroots efforts to enhance and increase public open space in New Orleans.

Watch the ceremony speech: