Since 1980, Professor Gary Kesler has been a key member of ILASLA and the faculty at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Gary recently joined the faculty at Penn State as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Outreach in the College of Arts and Architecture. At Illinois, Gary was the Associate Head and BLA Program Coordinator for the past 17 years. In addition, he served as Interim Head from 2000 to 2002, followed by an appointment as Director of the East St. Louis Action Research Project. He has received many awards for excellence in service and teaching, including five service awards from the ILASLA, a College of Fine and Applied Arts Outstanding Faculty Award, a CELA Award of Distinction, and numerous citations on the UIUC list of outstanding teachers. His recent publications have focused on the history of the profession including a book entitled Cultivating Breadth, 100 Years of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois, published by the department for its centennial celebration in October of this year.
For more than 30 years, Gary has been a leading advocate for the ASLA and issues related to professional practice registration and education. Beginning with involvement at the chapter level in the early 1980s, Gary served as chair of the education committee, chapter secretary and president. He played a key role in establishing registration in Illinois as the first chair of its licensing board in 1991, and was president of ILASLA when the ASLA Annual Meeting was last held in Chicago in 1993. On a national level, Gary has been engaged in a variety of roles including education vice-president, chair of the council on education, chapter trustee, member of the public relations committee and member of the roster of visiting evaluators for the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. He currently is a member of the ASLA Archives and Collections Committee and the ASLA representative to a steering committee working to create a National Academy for Environmental Design. He was inducted into the ASLA Council of Fellows for service to the society in 1998. In 2007, he was selected by Patrick Caughey to receive the ASLA President's Medal.
Gary holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from The Ohio State University (1976), and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (1980).