Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture

CELA Fountain Scholar Program

CELA (Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture)

CELA Fountain Scholar Program

The CELA Fountain Scholar Program is an endowed annual award in recognition and support of Black, Indigenous, and persons (students) of color in landscape architecture with exceptional design skills and who use their skills and ideas to influence, communicate, lead and advance design solutions for contemporary issues in a manner aligned with the original goals of Dr. Charles Fountain.

The CELA Fountain Scholar Program provides a $2,000.00 scholarship for one graduate or undergraduate landscape architecture student (only one award per year is given, regardless of collegiate level). The program recognizes one outstanding student as nominated from each accredited landscape architecture program from CELA member institutions (each university is eligible to identify a nomination for the CELA Fountain Scholar), and one jury-selected single graduate or undergraduate national award winner is provided with the honor (as part of the program).

Students are both honored for past achievements and recognized for their future potential to influence the landscape architecture profession. The CLA Fountain Scholar Program was established to help Black and Indigenous students of color to advance their landscape architecture education. Eligible candidates are in their final two years of undergraduate study or pursuing a graduate degree in landscape architecture. Winners of the award will join a growing community future CELA Fountain Scholars.

Dr. Charles Fountain was a Professor at North Carolina A&T State University, an 1890 Land-Grant Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Dr. Fountain was the founder of the first accredited landscape architecture program at an HBCU. Dr. Charles Fountain was an innovator, educator, and a visionary landscape architect. As one of the first five African-American scholars to earn a professional degree in landscape architecture, he cultivated broad impacts in the field by actively recruiting and mentoring a new generation of African-American designers. Realizing the need for minorities in design in the early 1960’s, Dr. Fountain left a tenured position in Plant Science at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) to pursue a Master of Landscape Architecture degree at the University of California, Berkley, in an effort to make landscape architectural education available to African-American students. After graduation, he returned to North Carolina and founded the NC A&T Landscape Architecture Program, the first landscape architecture degree offered by an HBCU. He made it his mission to serve as an important advocate for diversity through national, state, and local committees, programs, workshops, and boards. While diversity in the profession of landscape architecture has yet to reflect the population it serves, it has been greatly shaped and cultivated by the life and contributions of Dr. Fountain.

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All CELA Fountain Scholar applicants are required to submit the following materials:

General Submission Form

Complete the online form with basic contact information and details about your degree program.


Provide a color headshot in jpg format that is at least 1800 x1200 pixels. It should be horizontally-oriented, well-lit with a simple background, and include your entire head and shoulders. CELA retains the right to use any submitted photo on our website and in other materials promoting CELA’s scholarship programs.

Bio for the CELA Website (150-word max)

Provide a short cover letter, which may be used for publicity, in PDF, Microsoft Word, or TXT format. In 150 words or less, describe your background, current educational pursuits, future plans, and any other personal interests or activities. A full bio may be requested for recipients of the scholarship. This information will be used for marketing purposed and for publicity sharing of the award.

Resume (2-page max)

Upload your resume or CV in PDF format. It should include your education, professional experience, extra-curricular activities, and honors and awards.

In addition, each application has the specific submission requirements of:

a) A letter of recommendation signed by a Department Head/Chair, Program Lead, or other administrator that has worked with or advised the student

b) a maximum1000-word essay describing:

i) your personal goals and objectives as a future landscape architect and your statement/position statement on a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the profession (~500 words)

ii) your interpretation of the top 3-5 goals of Dr. Charles Fountain and how your future approach to the profession will align with the mission of his legacy (~500 words).

NOTE: Some relevant research and archival information related to Dr. Fountain can be found here [insert weblink to CELA Charles Fountain page once developed]

c) up to 10 pages of work samples showcasing your design skills and projects you have worked on that influence, communicate, lead and advance design solutions for contemporary issues. Please include at least one or more projects showcasing work aligned with the legacy and mission of Dr. Fountain.

All submissions must adhere to guidelines and deadlines in order to be considered. Additional materials will not be reviewed.

CELA Standing Committee on Diversity and Recruitment, Representatives from Black Landscape Architects Network (TBD), Representatives from North Carolina A&T State University (TBD), and the CELA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Track Chair(s) (also the future CELA Vice President for Diversity and Recruitment will be included)

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Links to Research and Other Awards:
  1. Charles Allen Fountain Obituary passed 8/26/2000
  2. Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Conference Proceedings, Baltimore, Maryland. March 26-29,2014. “A Forgotten Giant: The Life and Contributions of Dr. Charles Fountain” By Anna Reaves, Claudia Dinep, Page 98
  3. Robinette, G. O. (1975). Landscape Architecture: a Profession Designed for Minorities. American Society of Landscape Architects, Minority Recruitment Task Force.
  4. Charles Fountain Internship (Culberson)
  5. Charles Fountain Listed in Hall of Fame
  6. Endowments