Distinguished Alumni Award

Alumni 2011


Topher Delaney

Topher Delaney (B.A. Landscape Architecture, 1973)

Landscape Architect, SEAM Studio

Topher Delaney received her Bachelor of Arts in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley after studying philosophy and cultural anthropology at Barnard College. Her forty-year career as an environmental artist encompasses a wide breadth of projects which focus on the exploration of our cultural interpretations of landscape architecture, public art, and the integration within the site, these spiritual precepts of “nature.” Her practice, SEAM Studio, has evolved to serve as a venue for the investigation of cultural, social, and artistic narratives “seamed” together to form dynamic physical installations.

Delaney’s projects place an emphasis on the integration of physical form with narratives referencing the currency of a site’s unique historical, cultural, physical, and environmental profiles. The text of the terrain is evidenced in the structure of these narratives, crafted by technical skill and quality of materials to create a site which will be read and interpreted by the general public.

She has been widely published in numerous periodicals and journals in addition to the offering Ten Landscapes: Topher Delaney. Delaney has received a significant number of awards and honors for her studio’s installations, which seek to balance the social stratums, the cultural perceptions of art, and the literal pragmatics of a specific site. These publications address the installations of SEAM Studio, which focus on the following themes:

  1. Relevance / Why and for what purpose does the subject/form of a specific public art offering exist??? As the lead artist of SEAM Studio, Delaney, due to her training in cultural anthropology, emphasizes the importance of the site’s historical research both geologically/geographically and culturally. What is the evidence of these historical antecedents in the current expression of public art?
  2. Renewal / The team @ SEAM Studio strives to create the effect and affect of a site’s grounding and remediation, offering our public an accessible, intimate sanctuary in which to engage, observe, and recalibrate their perception of their relationship to the site and the community in which the public art is located. As the lead artist of SEAM Studio, Delaney, due to her training in landscape architecture and sculpture, emphasizes the integration of a broad spectrum of mediums which are integrated seamlessly together to offer a unique environmental experience.
  3. Reflection / What engages our communities in reflecting upon public art? As the lead artist of SEAM Studio, Delaney seeks to activate through the evocation of references embedded in the art forms, both literal and metaphorical, an enjoyment of personal and communal recognition.
  4. Evidence of the Hand / As the lead artist of SEAM Studio, Delaney has directed the construction of virtually all her installations. Of particular interest to Delaney is the evocation of the “hand” within her art. Visible excellence in the construction of installations, be they quilts, metal sculptures, concrete sculptures, stone sculptures, or terrazzo wall murals, all reference expressions of the arts which demonstrate the extra-ordinary.

Peter Dodge

Peter Dodge (B.A. Architecture, 1956)

Principal, Peter H. Dodge, FAIA, Architect; Founding Principal, EHDD Architecture

As a founding principal of Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis (EHDD Architecture), Peter Dodge played a significant role in EHDD’s growth as a firm identified with design excellence. Dodge joined Joe Esherick’s practice on January 2, 1956, shortly after graduating from UC Berkeley with an A.B. in architecture.

In 1957, Dodge earned solid experience in basic construction as well as pragmatic tools for management and organization during a tour of duty as a platoon leader in the Army Corps of Engineers during U.S. reconstruction in Germany.

Esherick named Dodge an associate at EHDD in 1963. When he became a principal in 1972, EHDD was a firm of 30 professionals with a reputation for elegant houses and a few distinguished larger projects; by the end of his term in 1997, some 80 architects were at work on complex programs for prominent commercial and institutional clients. Dodge was president of the corporation from 1979 to 1985. During his tenure, EHDD Architecture earned the AIA California Council Firm award (1980) and the national AIA Firm of the Year Award (1986), at the time the only firm to have achieved both distinctions. Since 1997, Dodge has been a consulting founding principal to EHDD Architecture.

In 2008, Dodge was honored by the AIA California Council with their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Renewing the focus of his early years with Joe Esherick, in 1997 Dodge started his independent practice, Peter H. Dodge, FAIA, Architect, and returned to residential work for its attention on design and to enjoy a ready rapport with clients. And, in a natural evolution of his long-time relationships with key clients, he continues to contribute as a consulting architect to Mills College in Oakland and is designing a new Smart car dealership with RAB Motors in San Rafael.

In 1981, Dodge founded the CAL ARKS, UC Berkeley’s first architecture alumni association, with fellow Berkeley alumnus Wally Costa. He served as president of the organization until 1984. Shortly after CALARKS disbanded, Dodge and Myra Brocchini convinced a new dean of the college to sponsor a new alumni association, the College of Environmental Design Alumni Association (CEDAA), which grew to 11,000 members between 1990 and 2008. He served as the first president of that association as well in 1990-91.

A hallmark of the CEDAA is the still-active CED mentorship program. Through it, over 100 practitioners serve as professional mentors to students in the College of Environmental Design.


Therese McMillan

Therese W. McMillan (M.C.P., 1984)

Deputy Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

Therese W. McMillan began her career in urban planning at UC Davis, after abandoning a run at veterinary medicine. She received her B.S. degree in environmental policy analysis and planning in April 1981, which included an internship with the California Transportation Commission in Sacramento, cementing her career-long interest in transportation. After UC Davis, she pursued graduate studies at the College of Environmental Design (CED), UC Berkeley, where she was a member of the first graduating class for the dual master’s program in transportation, receiving an M.S. in civil engineering science in December 1983 and a Master of City Planning in May 1984.

McMillan’s commitment to successfully bond academic learning and professional practice was forged through her many mentors at the college, notably Drs. Robert Cervero, Elizabeth Deakin, and Marty Wachs, who remain friends and colleagues to this day. She was a member of the CED alumni board from 2005 to 2009, serving as both vice chair and chair.

McMillan’s accomplishments include 25 years with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the regional transportation planning agency for the San Francisco Bay Area, encompassing nine counties and 101 municipalities, with a transportation network including 1,400 miles of highway, 19,600 miles of local streets, 26 public transit agencies, and eight toll bridges. Entering as a transportation planner in 1984, she advanced through MTC’s diverse portfolio to eventually become the deputy executive director for policy, a post she held from 2001 to 2009.

Top among her achievements was the steady advancement of regional transportation planning, embracing performance measurement and program-based funding and advocacy for transit expansion, and integrating transportation and land use policy and investment through transit-oriented development. She assisted in developing climate change legislation at the state level and oversaw the region’s first comprehensive freight plan. McMillan developed extensive knowledge of federal, state, and regional transportation funding and shared that expertise for six years as an instructor for the graduate transportation studies program at the Mineta Transportation Institute at California State University, San Jose.

Throughout these efforts and her overall career, McMillan embraced principles of organizational coordination and collaboration to define problems, craft solutions, and implement strategic change. This philosophy and her track record in the field were instrumental in her appointment by President Obama in July 2009 to the post of deputy administrator for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in the U.S. Department of Transportation. McMillan now engages in delivering transit projects and programs under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act; actively participates as part of the President’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities initiative; oversees FTA’s core transit programs, including strengthening the agency’s civil rights functions; and contributes to the emerging discussions on reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Program. She is grateful for the chance to apply her extensive knowledge in a national setting and delights in learning new aspects of policy — and politics — in the provision of public transit in all corners of America.