Donald Austin ’52 remembered as leading educator, co-founder of globally renowned firm

Donald Austin ’52, a leading educator at Texas A&M and a founder of EDAW, one of the world’s leading landscape architecture and planning firms, passed away Oct. 6, 2021 at age 90.

A funeral mass is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 600 E. 26th St., in Bryan.

In 1987, Austin was honored as an ASLA Fellow, among the highest honors the ASLA bestows on its members. The honor recognizes individuals’ contributions to their profession and society at large based on their works, leadership and management, knowledge, and service.

He was also honored as a Texas A&M professor emeritus of landscape architecture after he retired from the Aggie faculty. In 2009, Austin was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Architecture, the highest honor the college bestows on its former students,

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture at Texas A&M in 1952, and later a graduate degree at the University of Oregon, he taught at universities in California, Illinois, Hawaii, New Zealand and South Africa.

In Hawaii, Austin established the landscape architecture arm of Belt Collins and Associates, a leading Pacific Basin engineering and planning firm.

Later, Austin joined Garrett Eckbo, Edward Williams, and Francis Dean to found EDAW, a firm that quickly gained prestige in major land design and regional planning and grew into one of the largest and most prestigious of its kind with 25 offices in cities across the globe.

In 2009, EDAW received the Landscape Architecture Firm Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects, the highest honor that the ASLA can bestow on a firm.

Eventually, Austin returned to Texas A&M, where he taught landscape architecture for 25 years and also served as a department head.

He also consulted on numerous projects, including Pezula Estate, Hanglip Resort, Kurland Village and Polo Estate, and the central park and harbor town of Thesen Island, all in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Richard Nira —

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