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Merrie Talley


At a Glance

Class Year: 1975

Award Year: 2016

Degree: Bachelor of Landscape Architecture

Profession: Landscape Architecture

Biography

Merrie Talley, who earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree in 1975, is the founding principal of Talley Landscape Architects Inc. Talley, who has headed numerous, landmark projects throughout the Houston area, is a pioneer in her field whose career has been marked by innovation, enthusiasm, service, and fearlessness, said Michael Murphy, retired professor of landscape architecture, in a nomination letter. “She has created ecologically based designs and management strategies for numerous park and municipal utility developments that have set new standards for regenerative, sustainable urban watersheds and land management,” said Murphy. One of her most celebrated projects, Mandolin Gardens Park in northwest Harris County, transformed a muddy detention pond into a picturesque pond and ecosystem that earned awards from the Texas Forest Service, Texas Recreation and Park Society, and many others. As landscape architect from 1975-80 for the University of Houston System during a period of rapid expansion, Talley oversaw master planning for the UH central campus and the planning and site development of the 524-acre UH-Clear Lake campus. As the projects coordinator for the city of Houston Parks Board from 1991-98, Talley managed the design and installation of more than 25 neighborhood parks and playgrounds and led the renovation of the city’s Memorial Park Golf Club. She also holds a towering legacy in landscape architecture education at Texas A&M. One of the first women to enroll in the university’s landscape architecture program, she helped found Aggie Workshop, where students team with practitioners from across Texas in a daylong series of design charrettes, panel discussions and lectures. Talley and her then fellow students organized the event because traveling to visit practitioners, who at the time were concentrated in Texas’ metro areas, was difficult. “Workshop was not just a success, it became a departmental tradition that has continued for more than 40 years,” said Murphy. Her contributions to the college continue as a member of the Landscape Architecture Advisory Board and a champion of the development of the university’s Soltis Center for Research and Education in Costa Rica.