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The LAF Olmsted Scholars Program recognizes one outstanding student leader from each accredited landscape architecture program in the U.S. and Canada.

Olmsted Scholars are nominated by the faculty from each university. Students do not apply directly to the Olmsted Scholars Program.


Step 1: Nominations from Faculty

Each university may nominate one student from each of its LAAB-accredited* landscape architecture programs (bachelor's and/or master's). Eligible students are current master's students or undergraduates currently in their fourth or fifth year, who have made a commitment to the landscape architecture discipline.

The nominee is recognized as an LAF Olmsted Scholar and competes for one of the national awards. For master's students, the jury-selected National Olmsted Scholar receives $25,000, and three finalists receive $5,000 each. For undergraduate students, the National Olmsted Scholar receives $15,000, and three finalists receive $3,000 each.

To nominate a student, a faculty member must complete a Nomination Form. LAF now uses an online Google Form. The link to the online form will be emailed to all department chairs by January 15. If you did not receive the link to this form, please contact Danielle Carbonneau at dcarbonneau [at] (dcarbonneau[at]lafoundation[dot]org).

The form includes a checkbox to confirm that the department chair attests that 1) the faculty as a whole supports the nomination(s), and 2) the student(s) have been notified and accept their nomination(s). Nominations are due by February 15.

*LAAC-accredited for Canadian schools


Step 2: Full Submissions from Faculty/Nominees

LAF must receive a complete Nominee Submission Packet in order for the nominee to be eligible for the Olmsted Scholar award and recognition. This packet includes items to be completed by the nominating faculty and the nominee. All nominees with complete submissions will be recognized as LAF Olmsted Scholars. Nominee Submission Packets are due by March 15.


Step 3: Selection by Jury

The graduate and undergraduate National Olmsted Scholars and up to 6 finalists are selected by an independent jury of leaders in landscape architecture. The nominees are evaluated on their past achievements and their future potential to influence the landscape architecture discipline. Criteria for selection include the nominee’s leadership potential in (1) the advancement of sustainable planning and design, and (2) fostering human and societal benefits, as assessed through the candidate’s demonstration of:

  • leadership and vision
  • engagement with current issues
  • critical thinking
  • communication skill
  • personal characteristics and values



When making their nominations, faculty should consider both the recognition aspect of the Olmsted Scholars Program as well as the unparalleled opportunities offered to Olmsted Scholars for ongoing engagement and participation.

The LAF Olmsted Scholars Program is made possible with support from our generous sponsors. Promotion support is provided by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Program Sponsors

Finalist Awards

Thanks to the generous support of LAF’s 50 & Forward Campaign donors, starting in 2018, the Olmsted Scholar finalist awards increased from $1,000 to $5,000 for graduate students and $3,000 for undergraduates.

See campaign donors