To All 2020 Graduates:

We recognize your hard work, your dreams, and your aspirations. PA-DE ASLA stands with you and wishes you nothing but the best. The future is yours to change and to conquer.

The following sentiments were recently conveyed during the Temple University LA-Hort graduation ceremony and are shared now with all recent landscape architecture graduates.

“The last time I spoke in a graduation ceremony, we were in the midst of the Great Recession. It was so fresh that it didn’t even have a name yet. We all just referred to it as hard times, history has a way of polishing things from the past, so we now refer to it as Great.

I taught as an adjunct professor this semester at Temple University. At the beginning of the semester, I told my students that they would be lucky to be graduating during the strongest economy in recent history. Little did I know that in only a few weeks, we would be facing circumstances that would likely change our lives and society forever.

The National debt is at an all-time high and forecasts are calling for substantially more as the Federal Government acts to pull our economy out of this pandemic nose dive. The COVID 19 crisis is a time to re-evaluate everything.

We know that climate change is happening rapidly on an evolutionary timeframe based on a century-long buildup of greenhouse gases; however recent unusually hot summers brought about headlines of global warming caused by human choices. With frost and snow in Pennsylvania this past Mother’s Day weekend, maybe this unusually cool spring will cause similar speculators to correlate to the fact that everyone stayed home.

This time of shutdown has already caused us re-evaluate everything, from bus routes to social interaction to the design of our public spaces. In our lifetime, we recall tragedies that have shaken our national icons to rubble. We’ve rebuilt them stronger and more resilient than ever.

We are now facing a time that has shaken societal norms to their foundations. This is a time to questioning everything, and a time for healing and recovery, for our sick bodies, for our public spaces, our transportation facilities, our national monuments, and for the ecosystems that buffer our climate.

The world needs fresh new thought, and fresh, string minds like yours to make positive change. I am hopeful that we will all look back at this time when it is history and we will call it ‘The Great Change’.

On behalf of the American Society of Landscape Architects, to the class of 2020, I offer you congratulations on your hard work, and I challenge you to be great!”

Adam A. Supplee, RLA, ASLA
Trustee, PA-DE Chapter