Kesler, Gary Bruce | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Kesler, Gary Bruce

Historical Note:


Gary Bruce Kesler, Associate Professor, Associate Head, and Interim Department Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC), is an early pioneer of integrating computers into the Landscape Architecture curriculum at UIUC and the study of micro-computer integration and the history of landscape architecture.

Gary Kesler received a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Ohio State University in 1976 and a Masters of Landscape Architecture (MLA) from Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1980. After completing his MLA, Kesler became Associate Professor at the UIUC Department of Landscape Architecture until 2008. In 2008, he moved to Penn State University, where he worked as an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for the College of Arts and Architecture until 2015.

While at UIUC, Kesler served in various administrative positions including Associate Head and Program Coordinator (1991-2008), interim Department Head (2000-2002 of the Department of Landscape Architecture), and was a founding member and Director of the East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP). As part of his professional engagement in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) since the 1980s, Kesler served a variety of roles in the national as well as the Illinois chapters. He was the first chair of the 1991 IL/ASLA Licensing Board, and has served as chair of the IL/ASLA Education Committee, chapter President, and Secretary (1997-2003). On the national level, he served as ASLA Chair of the Council of Education (2004-2005), Vice President for Education (2005-2007), and as a visiting evaluator for the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. He was inducted into the ASLA Council of Fellows in 1998, and received the ASLA Presidents Medal in 2007.

Keslers professional research interests include micro-computer integration, sustainable storm water management, and the history of landscape architecture. In the 1980s, Kesler was one of the early pioneers of integrating computers into the Landscape Architecture curriculum at UIUC, and received a campus instructional award with Malcolm Cairns (LA). Their co-authored publication, Computer-aided Site Design: Instructors Manual, received a campus Amoco Foundation Award and Honor Award from the Illinois Chapter of ASLA in 1984. Kesler was one of eleven recipients to receive an IBM EXCEL grant for the campus project, The Introduction of Advanced Microcomputer Workstations into the Teaching of Landscape Architecture, in 1984, for which he served as the principal investigator from 1985-1986. Kesler published about the history of landscape architecture, co-authoring an article, "Florence Bell Robinson and Stanley Hart White: Creating a Pioneering School of Landscape Architecture," (2004) about two early University of Illinois Landscape Architecture faculty members, as well as co-authoring Cultivating Breadth, 100 Years of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois, at the occasion of the department's centennial celebration in 2008.

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