Client:  CLASS Fund
Date:     April 11, 2011
Contact:  Dan Carlsson - 949.559.9382 office; 949.433.4702 cell     

LOS ANGELES -- In a major step to fund the newly created California Center for Land and Water Stewardship (CCLAWS) at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CLASS Fund presented a $100,000 “check” to the Center to cover operating and academic expenses for the coming year.  CLASS Fund is an acronym for California Landscape Architectural Student Scholarship Fund, which has been providing scholarships and other support to state university landscape architecture students and academic programs since 1982.

The presentation was made at the annual meeting of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture in Los Angeles.  The Council is composed of virtually all the programs of higher learning in landscape architecture in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Established in 2010, the California Center for Land and Water Stewardship is housed in Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design, and was formed to create an opportunity for the university and its faculty, along with government and non-government agencies, and individuals to work collaboratively on applied research in land conservation and stewardship.  The Center’s areas of interest include land and water restoration, watershed management and comprehensive planning, environmental design and planning, as well as a broad range of other disciplinary and interdisciplinary research opportunities. 

  1. “When the creative ingredients of public and private partnerships are brought together for an enlightened purpose, magical things can happen and I believe the CLASS Fund contribution to  support the California Center for Land and Water Stewardship is one of those instances,” said Michael K. Woo, Dean of the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona.

  2.  “The Center has the potential to provide the resources, research and brainpower to begin the process of addressing, if not solving, many of the environmental issues confronting our state and nation.  The generous financial support from the CLASS Fund, especially at this early stage in the evolution of CCLAWS, will be instrumental in enabling the Center to do wonderful things in the future.”

  3.  Now a $1 million endowment, CLASS Fund is supported by private industry and develops programs and events to underwrite educational advancement by providing funds for scholarships and fellowships at institutions offering curricula in landscape architecture and industry related fields of study.  The Fund awards annual scholarships totaling $22,000 to landscape architecture and other deserving students attending Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UCLA. It also contributes $4,000 yearly to the Landscape Architecture Foundation, a national professional organization, for its Landscape Performance Series.
“This contribution will help the California Center for Land and Water Stewardship evolve and grow into a hub of environmental study and academic enterprise to protect nature and conserve our natural resources,” said Marty McPhee, chair of the CLASS Fund and executive vice president of Park West Landscape, Inc. “This is our largest single contribution in the past 30 years and we can’t think of a better investment for our funds.”

Robert Cardoza, FASLA, a founder of the CLASS Fund and chair of the Fund Scholarship, pointed out that the environmental focus of Cal Poly Pomona’s California Center for Land and Water Stewardship is based on a long-standing tradition of natural resource education and management in the Southern California region. Cardoza is also founder and corporate principal of NUVIS Planning & Landscape Architecture, a Costa Mesa, CA - based firm that is observing its 40th anniversary.

“When the CLASS Fund was formed in 1982, it started small and grew as the influence and importance of environmental protection and sustainability grew in California and nationwide,” said Cardoza, a landscape architecture graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and a long-time supporter of the university and its landscape architecture program.  “It’s gratifying to see the fund reach a point where we can make a significant investment in such a worthwhile enterprise.”

The California Center for Land and Water Stewardship was approved  last year by Cal Poly President Michael Ortiz based on a proposal by Professors Julianna Delgado, MArch, Ph.D., AICP, an associate professor in the university’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning Planning and president of the Southern California Planning Congress, and Susan J. Mulley, MA, MLA, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture.  Under their leadership, the Center will work with Cal Poly Pomona faculty and staff to create opportunities for collaborative work and to establish databases that can be accessed by outside organizations to support knowledge transfer and reduce duplication of efforts.  It will also collaborate on a project-by-project basis with other faculty, departments, and colleges within Cal Poly Pomona.

  “Our university, the environmental design professions, and our communities will ultimately reap the rewards of this generous contribution,” said Professor Delgado.  “It is gratifying to know there are organizations such as CLASS Fund that are dedicated to building partnerships to ensure students will have the best possible and most engaging educational experience.”
The Center’s activities include:

  1. Facilitating the conservation, stewardship, and restoration of land and water resources through applied faculty research projects and supervised community service-learning experiences for university students;
  2. Serving as a community educational clearinghouse to support the work of other public agencies and private nonprofit organizations through coordination, outreach, policy advisement, partnership development, and advocacy; and the development of databases and workshops for the public; and
  3. Proposing, supporting, administering, and facilitating specific research and implementation projects and studies related to land and water conservation, stewardship, and restoration for faculty in all disciplines at Cal Poly Pomona.

 “The California Center for Land and Water Stewardship has the potential to evolve into a national and even international movement that will advance environmental science and promote conservation of our natural resources,” said Pamela Galera, LEED AP, the 1990 recipient of a CLASS Fund Scholarship who is president of the Southern California Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a principal project planner with the City of Anaheim, CA.  “This contribution is a major step towards that goal in that it will help foster meaningful collaboration between the public and private sectors in the pursuit of environmental protection and true sustainability.”