UL Lafayette to award honorary doctorate to alum James Garland


An internationally renowned designer of water features will receive an honorary doctorate of arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette during Spring 2021 Commencement ceremonies.

James A. “Jim” Garland, an expert in water design, architecture and urbanism, founded Fluidity Design Consultants Inc., a Los Angeles-based water feature design and engineering firm. He earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University in 1982. He also graduated from UCLA’s Master of Architecture degree program.

UL Lafayette will award Garland an honorary doctorate Friday during the College of the Arts’ Commencement. The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. at the Cajundome Convention Center.

Individual Commencement ceremonies for UL Lafayette’s eight academic colleges and Graduate School will be held on Friday and Saturday at the Cajundome and Convention Center.

Garland established Fluidity Design Consultants in 2002 “to create a new generation of water features, conceived, crafted, and engineered for a more sustainable century, with a fresh and invigorating new design aesthetic,” according to a nomination letter written by H. Gordon Brooks, former dean of the College of the Arts.

Brooks, who retired earlier this year, nominated Garland for the honorary doctorate in 2020. The College of the Arts’ interim dean is Michael McClure.

Fluidity Design Consultants’ water features are showcased across the world, including at the Hearst Headquarters Tower and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; the Long Mu Bay seaside resort in Hainan, China; and the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Center in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The firm designed the largest fountain restoration and enhancement project in the United States, the $90 million Main Fountain Garden at Longwood Gardens. The sprawling botanical garden sits on about 1,000 acres in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Fluidity Design Consultants also designed the granite and steel water wall at the Hilliard Art Museum – University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

In 2013, Garland established the Fluidity Endowed Prize for Architectural Travel at UL Lafayette. It enables undergraduate students in the School of Architecture and Design to study architecture in Chicago, a city renowned for a diversity of architectural styles.

He has lectured at Harvard University and at the American Academy in Rome. In 1998, the Smithsonian’s design museum selected two of his sketchbooks for exhibition.

Before founding Fluidity Design Consultants, Garland worked for WET Design. That firm created the complex water features at Bellagio resort in Las Vegas.

Learn more about Garland and his work.

Photo caption: Alum James A. “Jim” Garland will receive an honorary doctorate of arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette during the College of the Arts Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 14. It will begin at 8 a.m. at the Cajundome. Garland, who founded Fluidity Design Consultants Inc., will also accept a SPARK Lifetime Achievement Award from the College of the Arts during the ceremony. Photo credit: Submitted photo