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A Little Campus Nostalgia
Editor Steve Kelly


The campus issue can make a person a bit nostalgic for those rather carefree days of going to classes, engaging in b.s. sessions with roommates and heading off to this or that party. That doesn't mean I'd like to relive the college days, but would greatly appreciate going back to college age, as in Ken Grimwood's 1986 page-turner, Replay. Early in the novel, the protagonist dies of a heart attack at age 43, only to awaken 25 years younger and in his college dorm room. The same scenario is played out again and again, dying over and over at age 43, and being transported back to college as an 18-year old. Of course, given his knowledge of what companies to invest in, what horses will win the Triple Crown races and what teams will win the World Series (big bet on the Dodgers beating the New York Yankees 4-0 in the 1963 series), he is always able to easily fund whatever life style suits his fancy, and going to classes quickly losses its appeal.

But for us normal mortals, college days were a special time: a time not only about pursuing academic learning, but learning about ourselves and where we might fit in once we left the cloistered campus life for the "real world."

Speaking of career paths, landscape architect William Cathcart dropped by our offices in Tustin, Ca., last week to discuss his career, his work on the planning commission, and his insights into the profession. Bill is retiring after a career of some 40 years. He began his adventures in landscape architecture at the University of California, Berkley, but finished up at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His first job professional job offer from a local Southern California firm was for $3.50 an hour; instead, he went to work for POD, Inc. (process-oriented design) in 1969. In 1975, he founded Cathcart Associates, a full service land planning and landscape architectural firm. In 1986, with a partnership with Gary Begin, the firm became Cathcart/Begin Associates. When Gary retired in 2012, the firm returned to its roots, Cathcart Associates.

Bill had a lot of stories to tell, including finding himself on the waterways in a patrol boat during the Vietnam War. Back stateside, Bill ran his own landscape architecture firm, while managing to receive a law degree from Chapman University Law School.

Bill is concerned the new generation of landscape architects are a bit too infatuated with producing beautiful CAD renderings, in lieu of going on site to understand the lay of the land and developing practical site plans that work for the conditions.

Hope you enjoy the diversity of college campuses in this issue: the net zero planned campus community of West Village at U.C. Davis; the new home for the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; the newly aligned campus walk at the University of San Francisco; drainage infrastructure solutions and landscapes at Long Beach City College; a bell tower plaza at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; plaza and connected pathways at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa; plus a spotlight on a number of campus playgrounds for the new generation that engage their senses, minds and challenges them physically, while having fun.

As seen in LASN magazine, June 2016.

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October 21, 2019, 1:46 pm PDT

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