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Endowments at UVA

The Reuben McCorkle Rainey Professorship in the History of Landscape Architecture-Saunders Match


The Reuben McCorkle Rainey Professorship in the History of Landscape Architecture was funded by professor emeritus Reuben Rainey, with matching funds provided by the Saunders Family Challenge. Created by the family of Thomas A. Saunders, III (Darden '67), the Saunders Family Challenge helped to establish new professorships in the schools of Architecture, Education and Nursing. The professorship in the history of landscape architecture enables the School of Architecture to attract and retain eminent faculty in this field and enhance the international reputation of the school's Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Reuben Rainey has been a central faculty member in the department of landscape architecture for more than 25 years and has received numerous teaching awards, including Teacher of the Year in the School of Architecture, an all-University teaching award, a University of Virginia Harrison Award for teaching innovation and the Distinguished Educator Award of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture. His focus is on the history of landscape architecture and the design of "healing" environments for a wide range of health care facilities. Professor Rainey led the Vicenza, Italy, summer program for 11 years for the School of Architecture and has made several documentaries, including A Garden Story, a 13-part television series on gardens as agents of environmental stewardship, for PBS.

Michael Lee joined the University of Virginia faculty in 2012 as the Reuben McCorkle Rainey Professor in the School of Architecture. Lee is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture. He is a graduate of Harvard University, PhD, Harvard's Graduate School of Design, MLA, and Texas A&M University, BSLA.

In 2016-17, Lee was awarded multiples fellowships for his accomplishments and expertise in the field of landscape architecture. Most notably, Lee received an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, which will allow him to develop his research titled German Landscape and the Aesthetics of Administration: Peter Joseph Lenné and His Circle, 1815-1848 into a book manuscript. He was also awarded a Dumbarton Oaks Fellowship for Spring 2018. Lee research investigates “how landscape in 19th century Germany was transformed by bureaucratic innovation.”

During 2016-17, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the UVA Jefferson Trust provided grant funding to Lee's colleague, Beth Meyer, for a multi-year university wide landscape studies digital humanities initiative that will create a research platform for innovative, cross-disciplinary inquiry into the meaning and experience of design landscapes. This project is a collaboration with faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as the University Library's Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities. Lee and Meyer will co-direct this exciting new project.

History of Past Recipients and Projects