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Architecture professor earns prestigious honor

Baker Morrow, who spent years establishing the Landscape Architecture master's program at UNM, was recently named a fellow by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Morrow, an adjunct Landscape Architecture professor, has been teaching at UNM since 1975 and is the principal of Morrow Reardon Wilkinson, Ltd., Landscape Architects in Albuquerque, which he founded in 1973.

"I've always had as much fun teaching as I've had practicing," he said.

It took 25 years to establish the Landscape Architecture Program at the School of Architecture and Planning, Morrow said, because it had to be approved by faculty, administrators and the governor.

He said it is the only one of its kind in the state and has the potential to be the best in the nation.

"It's a good time to be a landscape architect in New Mexico," he said. "It's just now getting to be a whole lot of fun."

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He said landscape architecture is often challenging in New Mexico because of the state's lack of water, plants and topsoil in many areas.

"You pretty much have to develop all three of those," he said. "It gets to be a little difficult sometimes."

Morrow said some of his goals include planning a series of parks and introducing new native plants to common landscaping in New Mexico.

"There are a lot of wild plants that just haven't been put into use," he said.

Morrow said he spent 12 years working with colleagues to establish state registration, or licensing, for landscape architects based on national standards.

He said he was inspired to become a landscape architect after reading "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand as an undergraduate in college. Morrow said he wanted to build something three-dimensional and make the environment beautiful.

Since then, he has worked with his company to design landscapes for Journal Center Business Park, Sandia Pueblo Casino, Sandia High School Wetlands and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Park.

He said many of his former students move on to work at the company, which has won more than 60 design awards since 1980.

Some of his books include A Dictionary of Landscape Architecture and Best Plants for New Mexico Gardens and Landscapes. He would like to write a few more books, he said, including one about the history of landscape architecture in New Mexico.

Morrow is the first UNM graduate and native New Mexican to be named to the Council of Fellows, according to a press release. The American Society of Landscape Architects has only elected 800 people nationally in the last century, it said.

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