College of Environmental Design

2017 Soirée

Saturday, March 4, 2017 | California Memorial Stadium

2017 Circus Soiree Logo

Soirée event video:

Circus Soirée Speaker 

Rip Rapson

Rip Rapson
President and CEO of the Kresge Foundation

Rip Rapson is president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, a $3.5 billion private foundation dedicated to improving opportunities for vulnerable people in America’s cities.

Since 2006, Rapson has expanded Kresge’s grant-making and investing tools beyond its historic use of the facilities-challenge grant. His experience in public policy and philanthropic leadership includes foundation governance and civic administration, including four years as deputy mayor in Minneapolis. Over his 40-year career, he has elevated issues such as early childhood development, urban revitalization and environmental preservation, and arts and culture. He is on the boards of ArtPlace America, Living Cities, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Downtown Detroit Partnership and other organizations.

2017 Distinguished Alumni

We are proud of our alumni here at the College of Environmental Design, and it is an honor for us to acknowledge a handful of them at the Circus Soiree for their vision and lifetime of achievements. This year's Distinguished Alumni cross boundaries from ethical design to environmental restoration to large building management. Learn more about David Baker (M.Arch '82), Douglas Abbey (M.C.P. '79), Austin Allen (B.L.A. '82) and Diane Jones Allen (M.L.A. '84) and the significant work that they do below.


David Baker

David Baker (M.Arch '82)
Principal, David Baker Architects

David Baker Architects (DBA) is a progressive architecture firm based in San Francisco and Oakland that creates acclaimed buildings in urban environments. Over the years, the firm has become known for exceptional housing, creative site strategies, designing for density, and integrating new construction into the public realm.  Read more>

Douglas Abbey

Douglas D. Abbey (M.C.P. '79)
Chairman, Swift Real Estate Partners

Douglas Abbey is Chairman of Swift Real Estate Partners, a San Francisco based real estate company  focused on value add office properties on the west coast. Read more>

Austin Allen

Austin Allen (B.L.A. '82)
Principal, Design Jones, LLC; Associate Professor, Louisiana State University

Austin Allen is a Principal of DesignJones, LLC, a full-service landscape architectural firm. He is an associate professor in the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University since 2010, after serving as its inaugural Bickham Chair in 2009. He focuses on community engagement practices, disaster recovery planning, and building resilient communities and green infrastructure projects. Read more>

Diane Jones Allen

Diane Jones Allen (M.L.A. '84)
Principal Landscape Architect, Design Jones, LLC

Diane Jones Allen  has 30-years experience in professional practice, research, and teaching, focusing on land planning, transportation planning, and park design projects, as well as community development work. Read more>