STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State University Libraries and the Department of Landscape Architecture this week will hold a reception to honor Marilyn Blake, who is formally donating the papers of her late husband, Edward L. Blake Jr., to the library.
The Thursday [May 9] reception will be held at 3 p.m. in the Grisham Room and is free and open to all.
Blake, who died in 2010, was a MSU landscape architecture alumnus who became a founding principal of The Landscape Studio in Hattiesburg. He taught at MSU from 1977 until 1984 when he became the first director of The Crosby Arboretum, a university center designed to educate the public about the environment.
Sadik Artunc, MSU professor and head of landscape architecture, said the Blake collection will be "the gift that keeps on giving." He explained that Blake took extensive notes as he studied, and his papers will be a wonderful learning and research tool for students and faculty alike.
"Ed was one of the greatest national treasures and visionaries in landscape architecture. Every time he read books or he wrote about his own thoughts, he articulated very insightful comments. Even though he's gone, his thoughts are still available here for us, and it gives us an unbelievable opportunity to be able to learn from the essence of his thoughts," Artunc said.
Dean of Libraries Frances Coleman said, "We are very pleased to have these extraordinary resources available to researchers, scholars and students. To further expand the reach of this collection, we plan to digitize portions to make it more widely available.
"The Blake collection will become a part of the libraries' CHARM project which preserves the history of agriculture and rural life in Mississippi," said Coleman. "We are very appreciative of the generosity of the Blake family and the cooperation of Dr. Artunc and the Department of Landscape Architecture for this collection."
Located in Picayune, The Crosby Arboretum preserves, protects and displays plants native to the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem and provides environmental and botanical research opportunities. Artunc said Blake's vision and leadership helped make the arboretum a global attraction.
Blake travelled extensively to every state except Alaska and throughout Europe, Central and South America and the Middle East to study landscapes and gardens. Internationally known for his work in ecological planning and design, Blake emphasized the creation of environmentally sustainable designs, even before "green" concepts became familiar, Artunc said.
Blake was recognized at the local, regional, national and international levels for his designs. His work for Hattiesburg's Lake Terrace Convention Center and The Crosby Arboretum both received the Centennial Medallion Award commemorating the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Landscape Architects. His work at The Crosby Arboretum, with Andropogon Associates, was given an Honor Award by the ASLA in 1991, which was the first national award of excellence received for a built work in Mississippi. Blake also was the recipient of ASLA's Alfred B. LaGasse Medal in 1994 for his notable contributions to the management of natural resources and public lands.
MSU Libraries' special collections department contains diverse and unique materials from Mississippi and Mississippi State University, the South and beyond, which are preserved and organized for the use of students, faculty and the wider research community.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see www.msstate.edu.