Gift funds experiential learning activities for landscape architecture students

A generous gift from Steven E. Lefton, PLA, BSLA ’94 will fund experiential learning activities for landscape architecture students. Photo credit: Hector Emanuel, courtesy of Cornell CALS

The Department of Landscape Architecture is delighted to announce a generous gift from long-time supporter and alumnus Steven E. Lefton, PLA, BSLA ’94, to establish the Professor Marvin I. Adleman Fund for Practical Experiential Learning. In 2013, Lefton established the Marvin Adleman Internship Award to support students during their internships. This new gift will fund student experiential learning activities such as student field trips to professional offices and landscapes of significance, the departmental lecture series, the Adleman Internship Award, and other student experiential learning opportunities deemed worthy by the faculty. Lefton wanted to provide maximum flexibility to the department so that the funding decisions can be made by faculty that will target the activities with the most pressing funding need.

Lefton graduated with a BSLA from the program in 1994 and began a successful career in professional practice. He has been with Kimley-Horn, a multi-disciplinary engineering, planning, and design firm, for the past 22 years and has risen through the ranks to become President and CEO of the company. While at Cornell, he was active in Chi Psi fraternity and played lacrosse for a couple of years until a string of knee injuries ended his playing days. He continues to pursue his love of lacrosse as a youth coach.

Lefton will visit campus this spring to meet students and to hear presentations about the internship experiences of the most recent Adleman Award recipients. He will also provide a lecture about the work of Kimley Horn and the role landscape architects can play as leaders in the design industry.

Students who have received the Adleman Internship Award had this to say about their recent internship experiences:

"The Adleman Internship Award made it possible for me to have my first professional experience at a critical moment in my education. By taking a summer internship after my sophomore year, I have jumpstarted my career path and started to better articulate my interests in the landscape.  It gave me a window into the working realities of a professional practice. Working at Superjacent exposed me to a wide variety of tasks and projects across Los Angeles. I was able to assist with projects at various urban scales while honing skills in community engagement, graphic representation, and the making of construction documents." — Danielle Street, BSLA '20

"During my internship at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the Adleman Internship Award helped me finance an amazing experience in a beautiful part of Brooklyn. My internship allowed me to gain practical experience and see the inner-workings of an extremely successful landscape architecture firm." — Elliott LaGuardia, BSLA '20

"I was honored to receive the Adleman Internship Award when participating SWA’s student program last summer. During my two-month stay in the Bay Area, I was enabled to explore the potential of San Francisco’s Aquatic Park with the help of many design professionals and local stakeholders. I was also able to assist SWA XL Lab with its research project about mid-size cities in the States. I really appreciate the funding, which helped me to arrange my trip to San Francisco and back to Ithaca, as well as covered part of my daily costs. This experience makes me know more about the working environment of American landscape architecture offices, and expands my design capabilities by various challenging tasks." — Esther Xie, BSLA '20