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K-State Today

June 12, 2015

Belanger earns Wayne Hunt McElwee Faculty Award

Submitted by Thomas E. Jackson

Blake Belanger, associate professor in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design, or APDesign, and professional landscape architect and member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, is the 2015 Wayne Hunt McElwee Faculty Award recipient.

The award is given to a faculty member for being an outstanding teacher as designated by the dean of the APDesign based upon the recommendations of both students and faculty.

Belanger teaches landscape architecture, site planning and urban design across disciplines in APDesign as well as advises graduate students. His scholarship focuses on design process, with an emphasis on mapping methods and photo montage. His pedagogical approach is based on inspiration, creativity, interdisciplinary collaboration, critical thinking and community engagement. He has led or co-led numerous service-learning projects with communities in Kansas, Missouri and Colorado, many of which have been recognized with regional awards.

Belanger earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Michigan State University and dual master's degrees in lndscape architecture and urban design from the University of Colorado at Denver. He is a licensed landscape architect with more than 10 years of professional practice experience.

The McElwee award was established in 1993 in honor of Wayne Hunt McElwee who received his Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from K-State in 1950. He began his career the same year at Black & Veatch in Los Alamos, New Mexico. By 1957, McElwee was serving as head of the architectural department in the company's Special Projects Division, a position he had until 1970. In 1977, he was named a partner in the firm.
In his career, McElwee managed several U.S. Department of Energy projects, as well as numerous projects pertaining to the military. He set the standards for facilities used to store weapons, arms and ammunition and designed contractor support facilities for a military base, missile reentry system facilities and missile maintenance facilities. In addition to the many structures he designed, Wayne also prepared studies on energy use and pollution abatement at military bases.

Merrit Lippert, a friend of McElwee's for 20 years, offered some insight into McElwee's success.

"Wayne was very good at delegating responsibility," Lippert said. "For one thing, when he assigned a job, he expected it would be done and he would step back and let people go to work. He wouldn't hesitate to interject some useful advice, but did this in such a way that people under him still felt they had control over the project and were valuable members of the team."

The award was established to honor McElwee and provide recognition and support faculty growth and development for outstanding teaching at APDesign at K-State, the alma mater he loved.

"Blake is a superb teacher and colleague," said Timothy de Noble, dean and professor at APDesign. "He is very effective at bringing his knowledge of practice and his professionalism to our students. I am very pleased to see Blake win this award, particularly given Mr. McElwee's own practice and experiences."