The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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As an undergraduate studying landscape architecture, Abby Anacki ’18 helped create a new garden at Longaberger Alumni House.

Jo McCulty

Opportunity to flourish

Abby Anacki ’18 helped design the new Alumni Awards Garden as an intern in landscape architecture.

Abby Anacki knew this was a chance to put her stamp on Ohio State in a rare and long-lasting way.

As an undergraduate intern for University Landscape Architect Steve Volkmann ’79, she was going to help design the alumni association’s new Alumni Awards Garden.

“I was so excited when he told me what we were going to do,” says Anacki, who graduated in May and now is pursuing a master’s degree in city and regional planning at Ohio State. “It was a collaboration between Steve and I that went through many iterations and was definitely my favorite project I ever worked on.

Many times in school you’re designing for scenarios or places that don’t exist. But designing the garden right here on campus was so beneficial because I had an actual site and the possibility that it would be built.”

Alumni Awards Garden outside Longaberger Alumni House

An architectural rendering shows the entrance to the new Alumni Awards Garden outside Longaberger Alumni House.

Courtesy of the alumni association

Volkmann says he had complete confidence that Anacki was up for the challenge of creating a new campus landmark.

“I knew she had the technical ability as well as an innate design sense to work through some of the design questions,” Volkmann says. Anacki was involved in every aspect of the project, he notes, from site inventory and concept development to plant selection and 3-D rendering.

The garden outside Longaberger Alumni House has a Buckeye color scheme achieved with red coral bells, white coneflowers and an Ohio prairie grass with blue-gray hues. Flagstone and concrete walkways invite visitors toward a curved wall of glass and metal plaques bearing the names of alumni award winners from the past 60 years.

“The plaques surround the space without being overwhelming,” Anacki says. “We wanted everyone going into the garden — whether they’re walking through to go to a football game or to see their name on one of the plaques — to realize this garden area was special and different.”

Alumni association President and CEO Jim Smith says inspiration for the garden sprang from his admiration of the honorees.

“I realized how inspiring those alumni award winners are and saw a need to recognize them in a visible way. They’re just incredible people,” Smith says. “Now we have a permanent place that provides that recognition for family, friends and fellow alumni to see.

“Abby did a wonderful job, and she worked with Jacky Bennett and Sarah McLeod from the alumni association staff to make the project, quite literally, come alive.”

Meeting the 2018 honorees

The Ohio State University Alumni Association’s awards program celebrates 60 years of excellence by honoring alumni and others who have brought extraordinary credit to Ohio State.