Tuesday, April 9, 2013

UNO College of Liberal Arts Names Robert Becker 2013 Distinguished Alumnus

Bob BeckerRobert Becker, chief of executive of New Orleans City Park, is honored this month as the College of Liberal Arts 2013 Distinguished Alumnus. He received a doctorate in urban and planning studies from the University in 2006.

The University of New Orleans honors this month the 2013 recipient of the College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Each year the college identifies a graduate who has a distinguished career in his or her chosen profession and/or community. Robert Becker, chief executive officer of New Orleans City Park and a UNO alumnus, will receive the 2013 College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumnus award later this month at the annual College of Liberal Arts Honors Convocation. The event is slated at 7 p.m. April 18 in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center on the UNO Lakefront Campus.

Becker, who received a doctorate in urban studies from UNO's College of Liberal Arts in 2006, has been the CEO of City Park for 11 years and is credited with dramatically improving the park's financial condition and developing a new vision for the park's future. Since 2005, his focus has been on the restoration of the park, which sustained catastrophic damage related to Hurricane Katrina, and implementation of City Park's Master Plan, which allows for new bicycle paths, tennis courts, golf courses, a splash park and other facilities. Since the storm, Becker has put together a public/private financing plan that has raised more than $100 million to recover from the hurricane and to implement the Master Plan.

Prior to his work in City Park, Becker served as senior vice president for the Audubon Nature Institute for Audubon Zoo and Park. For most of the 1980s, he also served as executive director of the New Orleans City Planning Commission.

Becker is a fellow of the American Institute of Certified City Planners and an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans. He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the 2010 National Planning Award for a Hard Won Victory that honored the park's recovery effort.

In addition to his UNO degree, Becker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University at Buffalo and a Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa.