URP alum Bob Becker (class of 1971) has been awarded the 2013 College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of New Orleans College of Liberal Arts, where he received his Ph.D. in urban studies in 2006.
According to a news release from UNO, each year the college identifies a graduate who has a distinguished career in his or her chosen profession and/or community. The award will be presented at the annual College of Liberal Arts Honors Convocation April 18, 2013 at 7:00 PM in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center on the UNO Lakefront Campus.
Bob Becker has been the CEO of City Park for eleven years and has been 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 following the catastrophic damage sustained during Hurricane Katrina and implementation of City Park’s Master Plan. Since the storm, Becker has put together a public/private financing plan that has raised over $100 million to recover from the hurricane and to implement the Master Plan. Prior to his work in City Park, Becker was the Senior Vice President for the Audubon Nature Institute for Audubon Zoo and Park, and he was the Executive Director of the New Orleans City Planning Commission during most of the 1980’s. 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, he holds a B.A. in History from the University at Buffalo and an M.A. from the University of Iowa in Urban and Regional Planning. Bob serves on the Advisory Board for the School of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa.