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Daniel WidisName: Daniel Widis

Title/Department: University Landscape Architect, Facilities Planning and Design

F&O Start Date: September 2022

Years at Carolina: About a year and a half

Professional background: Prior to joining the University, I worked in private practice at a few different landscape architecture studios, including a couple of years at Reed Hilderbrand in Cambridge, Massachusetts and then some time at Surface 678 in Durham. While at those offices, I worked on private residences, institutional and college campuses, and commercial development projects.

Education: I earned my Bachelor of Arts in history from UNC-Chapel Hill, my Master of City and Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill, and my Master of Landscape Architecture from Harvard University.

What does your job entail: Great question! A lot of folks hear “university landscape architect” and immediately think of planting design and maintenance. While working collaboratively with Grounds Services to maintain our beautiful campus is an important part of my job, my day-to-day can be a lot more administrative. I review technical drawing sets, manage external design consultants, lead campus planning/visioning projects, and help connect various campus stakeholders and customer groups to the larger Facilities Planning and Design apparatus.

What is exciting you about your job right now: Right now, I’m working on several planning projects that will hopefully help to guide major campus development in the years to come. Generally speaking, one of the most exciting parts of working at Carolina is balancing the need for change and site improvements within the context of a historic university landscape. A great example of this is the recently completed Old Well Accessibility Project. The project proposed introducing a sloped pathway to the Old Well structure to improve access and provide a more equitable experience for all. The work also included significant site grading and great care was taken to protect the historic oak tree – probably the most photographed tree in North Carolina – that frames the space.

What is something we may not know about you: I usually say something about my greyhound Alice for a question like this, but being this is a Carolina publication, I’ll go UNC specific. During my undergrad first-year student orientation, I got my student ID card photo taken right between Tyler Hansborough and Danny Green. I doubt they think about that moment as much as I do, but I’m a proud member of the winningest basketball class in Tar Heel history (2009).

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