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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 of the History of Landscape Architecture. Mr. Lee is a graduate of Harvard University, PhD, Harvard Graduate School of Design, MLA, and Texas A&M University, BSLA.

His research focuses on ideological constructions of nature at the intersection of philosophy, litera­ture, and landscape design. He has a special interest in European garden history (particularly in 18th to 20th century Germany) and has lectured around the country and in Germany on the subject. Mr. Lee is the author of “The German ’Mittelweg‘: Garden Theory and Philosophy in the Time of Kant” (2007), co-editor with Mirka Beneš of “Clio in the Italian Garden: Twenty-First-Century Studies in Historical Methods and Theoretical Perspectives” (2011), and co-editor with Kenneth I. Helphand of “Technology and the Garden” (2014). His latest projects include a study of landscape infrastructure in the design work of Peter Joseph Lenné (1789–1866) and an analysis of landscape and gender in Weimar modernism. Mr. Lee has previously taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Connecticut College. He has also lectured at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, the Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Park Bad Muskau, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

History of Past Recipients and Projects