Published: Dec. 14, 2023 By



The Program in Environmental Design (ENVD) is proud to celebrate its design community by recognizing individuals who have demonstrated leadership and made significant contributions to the design and architectural professions and their communities.  

This fall, ENVD honored Nancy Blackwood with the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award and Thomas Hoffmann with the Young Designer Award. Learn more about the recipients here. ENVD hosted events to recognize each recipient's professional career and personal achievements during the Wednesday of CU’s 2023 Homecoming Week.

The recognition kicked off as Blackwood received a tour of the ENVD building from sustainable planning and urban design senior Lydia Mercante, and thereafter presented to a group of students in their urban planning studio. Blackwood described the highlights of her career to aspiring planners and offered insights into the nature of the profession. With ENVD134 filled with alumni, faculty, staff, students,  and members of the Boulder professional design community, the evening kicked off with an hors d'oeuvres reception followed by the awards presentations.

ENVD Assistant Director for Advising and Professional Development Nate Jones opened the recognition event and introduced Blackwood and Hoffmann. Teaching Associate Professor Jeremy Ehly then presented the Young Designer Award to Hoffmann, recounting his experience as Hoffman’s capstone instructor. ENVD Director Stacey Schulte then took to the podium to present the Distinguished Alumni Award to Blackwood. ENVD will celebrate the 50-year anniversary of its first graduating class in 2024, of which Blackwood was a graduate. Schulte recognized Blackwood’s membership in the first cohort of ENVD graduates and referenced her influential career and countless contributions to the program.

After the awards portion of the event, Hoffmann spoke to the audience about his time as an ENVD student, his early design career, and the experience of starting his own company Campworks. He emphasized his journey from student to young entrepreneur and how his innovative camper is impacting the existing market. Blackwood spoke to  the audience about her time as an ENVD student back in the 70’s and presented work from her exemplary career. She chronicled the many urban planning projects that she has worked on throughout the Front Range and around the world (including projects in Africa). Blackwood’s presentation illustrated a veritable tour de force of impactful urban planning in Colorado.

Concerning ENVD’s forthcoming anniversary, ENVD Teaching Professor Jade Polizzi concluded the ceremony by introducing her efforts to chronicle the program’s history. She implored the various alumni members in attendance to support the project with anecdotes and other information highlighting their ENVD student experiences.

The alumni recognition continued into the night with a dinner at Café Aion on University Hill. During the dinner, Schulte discussed the creation of an ENVD Alumni Advisory Board and asked the alumni members in attendance to consider participating. 

It was a wonderful night of recognition and reconnection as the ENVD community celebrated its legacy and looked forward to the exciting changes yet to come.