College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Inaugural open house looks at landscape architecture pioneer

Tom Berger, landscape architect and WSU alumnus, shaped his industry with an ecologically sensitive approach. “A good design lives on and has its own life,” he said.
Tom Berger, landscape architect and WSU alumnus, shaped his industry with an ecologically sensitive approach. “A good design lives on and has its own life,” he said.

At schools and universities, flagship stores, offices and parks across the Pacific Northwest, landscape architect Tom Berger pioneered ways to blend the natural and urban worlds.

The Washington State University alumnus, who passed away last year, is the focus of “Building Legacies, Designing the Future,” a gallery opening hosted by the WSU School of Design and Construction at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, at Carpenter Hall.

“Tom led the way for ecologically responsive landscape design,” said Kelly Rench of Berger Partnership, the landscape architecture and urban design firm that Berger founded in Seattle in 1971. “He addressed global warming, water conservation and air quality, while adding open, green space. As our cities become more dense and populous, that space becomes more important.”

Born in 1945, Berger worked at his family’s nursery as a teenager. That experience, and his education at WSU, gave him a lifelong love of the Northwest environment and its native and adaptive plant species. He believed a good design lives on and has its own life—if it has a strong character, it will make its own statement.

Focusing on ecological sensitivity, landscape architect and WSU alumnus Tom Berger designed the LEED Gold-certified IslandWood education center on Bainbridge Island. Berger’s works are the focus of the first “Building Legacies” gallery show and reception at WSU.
Focusing on ecological sensitivity, landscape architect and WSU alumnus Tom Berger designed the LEED Gold-certified IslandWood education center on Bainbridge Island. Berger’s works are the focus of the first “Building Legacies” gallery show and reception at WSU.

Bringing the outside in

Berger shaped the industry with an artistic and innovative approach to design. His notable projects included an outdoor learning center on Bainbridge Island called IslandWood, which received the first LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold certification in Washington. He designed the landscape for the iconic REI flagship store in Seattle, where an emergent forest complete with a biking trail and waterfall forms a dense woodland in the middle of the city.

One of the exhibits at “Building Legacies” looks at Berger’s Viewland Hoffman Receiving Station in Seattle, where he landscaped an industrial substation to make it feel like a public park.

“Tom’s approach looked to architectural elements that could be incorporated into the landscape,” Rench said. “He brought the inside out and the outside in, so that the two worked in harmony.”

Mentoring the next generation

At his firm, Berger encouraged young people to join the industry, supporting scholarships and internships for WSU students. He often welcomed students to visit his office and learn about his firm’s projects, and enjoyed mentoring young professionals, Rench said.

Designed by Tom Berger (1945-2014), the award-winning entrance to the Washington Department of Ecology offices in Lacey, Wash., mingle natural and urban environments.
Designed by Tom Berger (1945-2014), the award-winning entrance to the Washington Department of Ecology offices in Lacey, Wash., mingle natural and urban environments.

Berger’s projects remain important touchstones for WSU students, said Jolie Kaytes, associate professor and head of WSU’s landscape architecture program.

“They learn about Tom’s innovative tactics, which are now expected in the industry,” she said. “Then, they go to places like IslandWood, and see how everything is interrelated. Whether it’s a civic space that’s also green infrastructure or a restored or preserved landscape that responds to the urban fabric, students experience the importance of connecting multiple layers of the landscape.”

Industry reception

“Building Legacies” also looks ahead to the future of the industry. The event includes a reception at the Brelsford WSU Visitor Center where architecture, landscape architecture, interior design and construction management professionals can meet and chat with students. It’s an informal way to share ideas, says Kaytes.

Future gallery events will focus on other disciplines in the School of Design and Construction.

• The School of Design and Construction’s “Building Legacies, Designing the Future” is Friday, Oct. 16. A gallery opening is 5 to 6 p.m. at Carpenter Hall, on the WSU Pullman campus. The event is open to the public. A reception follows at the WSU Visitor Center.


Jolie Kaytes, Landscape Architecture Program Head, School of Design and Construction, (509) 335-7331,

Kelly Rench, Director of Marketing, Berger Partnership, (206) 325-6877 ext. 231,


CAHNRS is more than agriculture. With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, we are one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU. CAHNRS Cougs are making a difference in the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities, improving ecological and economic systems, and advancing agricultural sciences.



CAHNRS students are awarded more than $600,000 in scholarships annually.


CAHNRS has 39 student clubs and organizations to enhance student experiences and opportunities.


With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, CAHNRS is one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU.


CAHNRS leads in discovery through its high-quality research programs. In 2014, CAHNRS received research funding exceeding $81.5M. This accounts for nearly 40% of all research funding received by WSU.  


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Check out every department and program CAHNRS has to offer, from Interior Design to Agriculture to Wildlife Ecology. We have 13 departments and schools to prepare you for your chosen career.

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Students have a variety of options to pursue masters and doctoral degrees. Many of these have very specific background requirements, so we suggest exploring the individual programs for academic guidelines.

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Inspiring Teamwork - Arron Carter pic

Inspiring Teamwork – Arron Carter

It started with a car, a ’69 Corvette Stingray to be exact.

When Arron Carter, the director of the Washington State University Winter Wheat Breeding Program, was in high school his agricultural teacher had a ’69 Corvette Stingray. Every year this teacher would let his favorite senior take the car to senior prom. Carter had never taken an agriculture class before, but he knew he wanted to drive that car.

“Well, if I’m going to be the favorite senior,” Carter said to himself, “I’d better start taking some ag classes.”…

Read More: Inspiring Teamwork – Arron Carter


CAHNRS Office of Research

Agricultural Research Center

Mission Statement

The goal of the Washington State University CAHNRS Office of Research is to promote research beneficial to the citizens of Washington. The Office of Research recognizes its unique land-grant research mission to the people of Washington and their increasing global connections. The CAHNRS Office of Research provides leadership in discovering and applying knowledge through high-quality research that contributes to a safe and abundant food, fiber, and energy supply while enhancing the sustainability of agricultural and natural resource systems.

Featured Research

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CAHNRS Office of Research

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Alumni & Friends

Holiday Hours & End-Of-Year Giving

It’s that time of year again—time for sharing merry moments with family and friends. As you prepare for the holidays, consider these year-end giving tips below. We know how important the last few days of 2015 will be for meeting tax deadlines, and we are here to help make the process as easy as possible.

Please note the WSU Foundation’s hours of operation through the end of the year:

Dec. 2 – Dec. 23: Normal operation (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

Dec. 28 – 31: Although Washington State University and the WSU Foundation will be closed, WSU Foundation gift accounting and gift planning staff will be available by phone from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. throughout this week. If you would like to give a gift of appreciated stock or discuss your year-end giving plans to benefit WSU, please call 1-800-448-2978.

Making a gift online using the WSU Foundation’s secure site is an easy way to make your year-end gift using a credit or debit card any time, day or night. Note: Online gifts may be made as late as 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31 to receive tax credit for 2015.

Thank you for your generous support of Washington State University throughout the year. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Year-end Giving Tips:

Remember, only gifts made by Dec. 31 can help reduce your 2015 taxable income. Please keep the following in mind and consult your tax advisor for specific details.

To Receive 2015 Tax Credit:

  • Make sure your gift is dated and postmarked no later than Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Complete your online gift on or before 11:59 p.m. (PST) on Dec. 31, 2015. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.


The date you deliver or mail your donation is generally recognized as the gift date for tax purposes. Please note, the date on the actual check or money order is not recognized by the IRS as proof of your intent to give on a particular date. Gifts by check or money order may be mailed to:

WSU Foundation
PO Box 641927
Pullman, WA 99164-1927

Note: Gifts may be hand-delivered to the WSU Foundation Town Centre Suite 201 during hours of operation.

Credit Cards:

The date your account is debited is considered the date of the donation. In order to receive a 2015 charitable income tax deduction, credit card gifts must be processed against your account in 2015. Please make sure to make your gift online using your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

Have your stocks gone up in value this year? Consider making a simple and tax-wise gift of appreciated stock. Please note that mutual fund shares may take several weeks to transfer, and the gift is not considered complete until the shares are received in the WSU Foundation’s account. To give the University stock or discuss your year-end gift to WSU, please call 1-800-448-2978.

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Contact Dean’s Office:
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