Landscape architect Adrian Smith featured in latest 'Movers, Shakers' interview

February 02, 2021

Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture is highlighting alumni through a new interview series titled “Movers, Shakers, Designers, Makers.” Launched virtually in spring 2020, the series, featuring Dean B. Stephen Carpenter II interviewing alumni making an impact in the arts and design, was started to give alumni a way to discuss their careers and accomplishments, in a format that could be shared broadly.

This month’s interview features landscape architecture alumnus Adrian Smith, 1982, Staten Island capital projects team leader for New York City Parks and Recreation. In 2018, Smith was named a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the organization. A strong advocate for his field, he volunteers his time to promote education about the discipline, recruitment to the profession, and recognition of landscape architects’ essential role in creating vibrant and resilient urban communities.

Smith is a 2021 recipient of the Arts and Architecture Alumni Award. According to landscape architecture faculty member and former department head Eliza Pennypacker, who has known and worked with Smith for more than 30 years, he is notable for his service to the profession as well as his award-winning work in urban spaces throughout New York City.

“Not only is he a highly accomplished professional, but his sphere of influence is urban public landscapes, where he’s enhanced the quality of life of millions of New York City residents and visitors,” said Pennypacker. “Adrian’s commitment to service also stands out: he has served various arms of our professional organization for more than 35 years, grounded in his belief in the power of landscape architecture to make positive change, and he’s been an important friend of our department virtually since his graduation by mentoring and hiring our graduates and by serving for eight years on our Affiliate Program Group (alumni group), 2011-19. We are gratified that Adrian is a proud member of our Penn State Landscape Architecture community!”

Smith is the sixth alumnus to be featured in “Movers, Shakers, Designers, Makers,” which is produced by staff in the College of Arts and Architecture.

“We launched this series at a time when everyone was struggling to maintain connections, and to find some good news. We knew the Arts and Architecture community would be interested in hearing from alumni first-hand about how they shifted their work and adjusted in other ways during the pandemic,” said Carpenter. “As a new dean, it was also important for me to establish connections with alumni and the college community. The interview series has been a wonderful way for me to sit down – virtually – with alumni to learn more about who they are, what they do and how their Penn State education launched them on their career paths. We look forward to shifting to in-person interviews when it’s safe to do so.”

Previous interviews featured graphic design alumnus Adam Cohn, vice president of global design for Converse; School of Visual Arts alumnus and ceramic artist Roberto Lugo; architecture alumna Samantha Josaphat, founder and principal of Studio 397 Architecture; and theater alumnus and social media entrepreneur Mike Karns. All interviews are available at

Last Updated February 02, 2021