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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, graduate landscape architecture program welcomes this week its new chair, Ken McCown, a former associate professor in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University.

McCown, who officially begins today, brings a wealth of knowledge and energy to the program, according to Sam Rogers, associate professor of plant sciences who has served as interim chair of the landscape architecture program since January 2010.

“Ken McCown is a gifted educator who has mentored several students winning national awards. He is committed to excellence in design and sustainability in environmental stewardship. We are fortunate to have Ken join us in a leadership role for our new program at UT,” he said.

McCown’s expertise centers on issues relating to design, planning and sustainability. His background is in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design, and he uses this background to solve contemporary issues such as the integration of buildings and landscapes, the incorporation of habitat and water quality into urban design, and most importantly, connecting people to the landscape through design.

Some of McCown’s awards and honors include the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) merit award for the Taj Mahal National Park and Cultural Heritage District, the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture award for Excellence in Design Studio Teaching, and the Arizona ASLA award for the Sustainable Systems Inventory for Scottsdale, Ariz.

McCown also was the resident director of the Richard and Dion Neutra VDL Research House II at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, College of Environmental Design, where he raised more than a quarter of a million dollars in donated funds, services, materials and labor.

The UT Knoxville landscape architecture graduate program — a joint collaboration between the College of Architecture and Design and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources — welcomed its inaugural class of students in fall 2008.

The first of its kind in the state, the program was accepted for candidacy status with the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) and will remain a candidate program until the first class graduates. After the first class graduates in spring 2011, the professional degree program will be reviewed for accreditation.

Though a relatively new program, McCown is ready to take the helm and help build on what’s been started.

“I am very excited to work with a great group of people to grow the new program and am humbled by the efforts put forth by the faculty and administration to get the program to this point,” he said. “I hope to honor their efforts through my own to continue the momentum they’ve started! I’m also looking forward to the interdisciplinary program which will allow us to use collective speculation to provide analysis and design that responds to contemporary problems and opportunities.”

McCown earned a master’s degree in architecture and a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was an assistant professor at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, for five years before relocating to ASU in fall 2007.

C O N T A C T :

Kristi Hintz (865-974-3993,