Leading Landscape Architect to be Honoured at Fall Convocation Ceremonies


A renowned Canadian landscape architect who was one of the first women to study at Harvard University’s design school and became a leader in sustainable design will receive an honorary doctorate during fall convocation ceremonies at the University of Guelph.

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander will be recognized during convocation for more than 900 graduands Oct. 17 at War Memorial Hall.

Oberlander, whose career spanned more than six decades, will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony for graduates from the Ontario Agricultural College and the Ontario Veterinary College.

She was among the first women to graduate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1948.

Oberlander founded the design firm Cornelia Hahn Oberlander Landscape Architects in Vancouver and was a proponent of creating design concepts by analyzing site conditions and user needs.

She collaborated with architects to design the British Columbia government complex, the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, the VanDusen Botanical Gardens, the New York Times building courtyard garden, the Canadian embassy in Berlin and the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly building.

She focused on sustainable design and health and well-being, using soil, water, plants, climate and microclimate, local ecology and local materials.

Oberlander has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has received the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Allied Medal and the International Federation of Landscape Architects’ Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award.

Convocation ceremonies will take place as follows:

  • 9 a.m.         – College of Biological Science
  • 11:30 a.m. – College of Arts / College of Physical and Engineering Science
  • 2 p.m.         – Ontario Agricultural College / Ontario Veterinary College
  • 4:30 p.m.   – College of Business and Economics
  • 7 p.m.         – College of Social and Applied Human Sciences