Message from Keith Ross, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Conway School of Landscape Design:
For just the third time since its founding in 1972, the Board of Trustees of the Conway School of Landscape Design has accepted the resignation of its director. Citing personal reasons, Paul Cawood Hellmund has submitted his resignation, effective October 31, 2015.
In sharing his news with the board, Paul said “This year marks my tenth year leading the Conway School. Early in my tenure a trusted colleague–who had also been a college president–told me that ten years is long enough to be president and to accomplish important things. I think she was right.”
Paul’s contributions will be felt for generations to come. During his tenure at the school he designed and facilitated the strategic visioning and development program that he called “Conway 4.0 ”. While Conway was celebrating more than 40 years of teaching graduate students to think holistically about the land and its use, Paul led the effort to forecast what the next 40 years would look like, particularly as we face the daunting challenges posed by our changing climate.
Under Paul’s leadership, Conway opened a second, urban campus in Easthampton, MA; changed the name of the degree to Master of Science in Ecological Design; increased the profile of the school regionally, nationally, and internationally; and significantly elevated the institution’s fund development efforts.
Paul is leaving the School with both a clear sense of direction and a lot of momentum toward the Conway 4.0 goals. We are grateful for Paul’s vision and leadership; he will be missed. The Board of Trustees has initiated a national search for a new director. I will keep you informed as the school embraces the opportunities for growth and continued improvement that such a transition provides and we look forward to communicating with each of you to answer questions and look for guidance.
Please read on for personal statements from school founder Walt Cudnohufsky and Paul Hellmund.
Chair of the Board of Trustees
From Walt Cudnohufsky:
It is entirely possible that only those who have held the Director’s position and felt the unique and substantial pressures of being the head of the small Conway School of Landscape Design, fully know what is entailed and the toll it can exact.
The “chief cook and bottle washer” role is not for the faint of heart and not for those short on energy or in diversity of skills. The School has had the happy good fortune of having Don Walker and most recently Paul Hellmund, the two successor directors, both able and dedicated to the task of perpetuating and simultaneously improving the school. They each did this value-centered work for a sustained multi-year period, and we are grateful to them. The School’s stability and extended reach have been the beneficiaries.
There is never a good time for a transition. Change is obviously both difficult and scary. The School is again tested as it transitions to new leadership, and it must be “all hands on deck” from the School’s family and friends. The process of transition will benefit immensely from the “Conway Family” reconnecting. Assistance is valuable and welcomed in any form – simple words of encouragement, offering skills, committee and idea assistance, program participation and necessary funding.
There is before us the potential for the School to emerge from this process stronger and more resilient. In the true spirit of a positive design process, we are obliged to see this leadership transition as an opportunity.
From Paul Hellmund:
Dear Members of the Conway Community,
“Conway is not just a school, it’s a movement,” observed a particularly astute visitor to the school last year. Certainly what a regular person might think of as the school—the current students, faculty, staff, visitors, and supporters, collaborating on projects—are Conway’s most concentrated and visible manifestation. But from my ten years at the helm of the school, I have the privilege of attesting that Conway is much, much more than that!
The Conway movement is seen every day—literally around the globe—in the work of our alums and friends. It is seen in the design and planning projects of tremendously varied scale and scope that you do as professionals, as elected officials, as community volunteers. From a global perspective this may seem smallish—and to some casual observers, inconsequential—but we know that these contributions are powerful and timely and are having a transformational effect.
With this fall’s successful opening of Conway’s new satellite urban campus in Easthampton, I realized that it was time for me to move on and allow new leadership–with different skills–to guide the next steps in Conway’s advancement and for me to return to professional practice, which I have sorely missed. Now that I am stepping down, I look forward to playing new roles in the Conway community.
I am already looking forward to visiting the school for project presentations and graduation. I can’t wait to read about the latest student and alum projects and to see and share the latest project plans and reports. I hope you will join me in continuing (and increasing) financial support of the school and encouraging friends and colleagues to do the same. The “Conway movement” will continue to move—and each of us has a role to play to ensure that that Conway School continues to lead, creating a more sustainable world—one design, one plan at a time.
My wife Joan and I, and our two sons Andrew and Noah, are reestablishing our home in Colorado, where my practice will focus on urban green infrastructure, large-landscape conservation, and reclaiming degraded lands, both in the United States and Latin America. I’d love to hear from you and to learn more of what you are working on and to see you if you come to Colorado. Please keep in touch.
Imagine how much more we in the Conway community can accomplish—together—right now!
With warmest regards,
Paul Cawood Hellmund