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Donald Lynn Collins, FASLA

Donald Collins

Donald Lynn Collins, FASLA

Raised in Charlotte, Don was destined to be a landscape architect. His father often engaged in construction projects between his tours of duty as a firefighter. His grandfather was a land developer. Both men were frugal, bringing home job-site wood scraps to re-purpose. While his mother tended the books, young Collins spent hours playing in his grandfather’s storage yard, laying out roads and arranging little wood blocks as “buildings” to form villages. Little did he know that this “design on the land” was the essence of landscape architecture.

After high school, Collins enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. In the USAF, “teaching” college-educated pilots how to navigate the Berlin Corridor gave Collins a new perspective and determination to earn a college degree. Through a USAF-Furman University program, he soon began his academic quest. Following the USAF service, Don Collins enrolled in Clemson University’s architecture program. Attending a guest lecture by a renowned landscape architect altered his career path once again. Collins transferred to NCSU to major in landscape architecture.
Nearing graduation, he was offered a position in the design firm where he had been working as an intern, but with one stipulation — he had to earn an advanced degree at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Finishing the GSD, Collins accepted an academic position at Ball State University’s College of Architecture instead of returning to the firm.

A few years later, Collins joined the faculty of Clemson’s College of Architecture. He served twice as Acting Head of the Department of Architecture. In 1987 he was asked to found the program in Landscape Architecture that he headed for 18 years, growing the program from 4 students to 140. From 1995 to 2005 he also headed the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture.

In 2003, Don was made a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects for his success in developing the Landscape Architecture Program. In 2005 Don received the ASLA’s Jot Carpenter Medal for “sustained academic achievement.” The Carpenter Medal is the ASLA’s highest award to an academic.

Don retired in 2005 but continues in the making of works in the US and Canada.