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School of Natural Resources and Environment loses Assistant Prof. Beth Diamond

School of Natural Resources and Environment
Assistant Prof. Beth Diamond

By Stephanie Shenouda, Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 30, 2013

Assistant Prof. Beth Diamond, who taught landscape architecture in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, died Tuesday from cancer.

Diamond, who joined the University in 2008, was a landscape architect who viewed the medium as a tool to produce “social change and evolution.”

She worked on projects in inner-city Detroit, developing environmental classrooms for public K-8 schools, and taught landscape design studio courses and courses on contemporary design theory.

Diamond was also heavily involved in the Heidelberg Project, an artistic initiative that aims to increase artistic presence and awareness in inner-city Detroit.

SNRE Prof. Stan Jones was not only Diamond's colleague but also her professor during her time as a student at the University of Oregon. He said Diamond was a creative designer and artist who was passionate about her work and social justice.

“Beth was always using art as a means of inspiring and effecting change and bringing communities together,” Jones said. “She was very collaborative, using art to bring people together and empower community design and improvement.”

In the classroom, Jones described Diamond as “demanding, in the best sense of the word,” and said she expected and encouraged her students in her first-year graduate studio design class to push themselves and achieve their best.

“Beth was best in the studio, that's where you could really see her passion,” Jones said. “Students responded well to her, she was just truly a dynamic teacher.”

Jaime Langdon, concentration advisor for Natural Resources and Environment, sent a letter to the SNRE community to announce the loss of Diamond.

“Losing someone so young and so talented is a terrible loss for our community and for the world,” Langdon wrote.

A statement posted on the SNRE website echoed Langdon’s sentiments and described Diamond as energetic and inspiring to her students.

“(She) taught her usual energetic, inspiring first-term studio, leading final review with her signature critical aplomb and passionate commitment to students,” the statement read.

Diamond’s place in the SNRE community was commemorated when students placed a “dynamic installation” in the front yard of her home last week.

“Their work embodied Beth’s fervent belief in landscape as a medium for community expression,” the statement read.

A memorial ceremony for Diamond will be held in the Ford Commons in the Dana Building on May 2nd at 3:30 p.m.