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Rusnak Retires

The Stuckeman School has gained another emeritus faculty member. Cecilia Rusnak (’70, BSLA) retired in December 2015 after 20 years in the Penn State Department of Landscape Architecture. Her work centered on authentic places, cared for and cared about places, and history that is suggested, embedded, revealed, and celebrated in those places. She pursued these passions through her research, her service, and through her teaching. Rusnak and her students worked on countless projects that featured solid immersion in place and communities from Pennsylvania to the Czech Republic. Her teaching instilled in her students a true appreciation for places and people.

One of the more impactful and exciting of these was the decade-long summer study abroad program in the Czech Republic for architecture and landscape architecture graduate students, facilitated by Penn State alumni with connections to design professionals in the Czech Republic, and led by Rusnak. During those summer immersions, the program embarked on partnerships covering a wide range of projects from an impact study for the National Ministry of Environment regarding a highway proposed in the Cesky Raj – a UNESCO Geopark – to land management practices for the small village of Klockoci.

Early in 2014, Rusnak launched a traveling exhibit at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The exhibit, Written in the Czech Landscape, presented work by students and faculty and showcased a key outcome of the program: discovering how people can come to common ground through a shared vision of the landscape. Rusnak’s piece in that exhibit led to her rekindled interest in expression through textile art. She plans to give this renewed avenue of artistic expression much greater attention now that she is retired. We wish her great joy and success in those and other endeavors. As an emeritus faculty she can still be reached at

Photo of Cecilia Rusnak
Castle perched on mountainous spire overlooking a broad valley. Black and white photo.
Hand-drawn city landscape with text in notebook