The man who shaped the U

Longtime University landscape architect Clint Hewitt will retire this month.

McKenzie Martin

For Clint Hewitt, a walk through the University of Minnesota campus is an enriching experience âÄî one about much more than just getting to class. For nearly 30 years, HewittâÄôs vision of personal relationships and creating the âÄúpedestrian experienceâÄù has shaped landscape initiatives at the University of Minnesota through his position as associate vice president for campus master planning. But this September brings the retirement of Hewitt who, since his arrival at the University in 1972, has made a prominent mark on campus history. As master planner, Hewitt has been involved not only in overseeing the UniversityâÄôs landscape planning and design, but also in coordinating the architecture, construction and renovation of the landscape, infrastructure and buildings on campus. Kathleen OâÄôBrien , vice president of University Services and longtime acquaintance of Hewitt, called him, âÄúthe champion of campus master planning.âÄù âÄúHe helped administration understand the importance of a campus master plan to ensure that we had not only a highly functional campus, but a beautiful and attractive campus,âÄù she said. While Hewitt has formed many close friendships throughout his tenure at the University, what he said he will miss most about being on campus is meeting new people. âÄúWhen I meet people, I think of them as a friend,âÄù Hewitt said. HewittâÄôs love for his job is obvious when he talks, excitedly jumping from stories about the Weisman Art Museum , âÄî a project he helped oversee âÄî to tales about the David M. Lily Plaza , another project Hewitt was involved in. But as with most jobs, he admits there are always valleys and peaks along the way. âÄúSome days IâÄôve thought, my God this isnâÄôt fun at all,âÄù he said. âÄúAnd then I walk across campus, see someone, and you just forget it just for a brief moment.âÄù HewittâÄôs ideals were key influences in the master plan, drafted by the University earlier this year. Titled âÄúDiscover Connect Sustain,âÄù the plan highlights sustainability as a central focus. Hewitt, who also worked as a landscape architecture professor, said he believes sustainability should not be thought of as a challenge, but as an opportunity for the University to lead by example. âÄúThey have to love it enough to want to take care of it,âÄù Hewitt said, adding that only with an example of how sustainability should be will people leave the âÄúgardenâÄù of the University campus with the ethic instilled upon them. The humble Hewitt has made many contributions to the University, but he is quick to credit others for their role in his success. âÄúYou donâÄôt do very much by yourself,âÄù Hewitt said, adding that without the talent of University staff and their great love and appreciation for the campus, he wouldnâÄôt have been able to realize his visions. âÄúI want people to remember me for my enthusiasm and passion,âÄù Hewitt said. As he transitions into retirement this month, Hewitt isnâÄôt ready to let go of his career just yet. While he plans to spend some of his retirement with family, catching up on hobbies, listening to jazz music, traveling and collecting lapel pins (of which he has more than 3,000), he is also planning to write a book about his involvement in University landscape architecture and planning. âÄúHe wonâÄôt be in the classroom,âÄù said Lance Neckar, department of landscape architecture professor and colleague, âÄúbut heâÄôs not going away.âÄù