Gary Dwyer Memorial Page

Photo courtesy of Dr. Odile Ayral

To post your memory of Gary, please fill out the form below. Even though Gary would have loved it, please refrain from using any expletives/foul language as this is a university page. If you would also like to send an image, please email it to

“We are all holding onto the parts of the raft that are still floating and hoping for beauty yet in this storm.”  Gary Dwyer’s last words.
~ Odile, Gary's wife

"I miss him almost every day!"

"My first thought on reading the posting directions was how in the world would I write anything truthful about Gary without using expletives and foul language.  RIP cousin.  Gonna miss you"
~Will Power

"Lunch will never be the same.  Gary was a true Renaissance Man."
~Don Krehbiel

"Gary was a special individual and I always enjoyed his joy in life and joy in teaching.  I am sorry he has left us and I send merit and support to Odile and Gary's other family members.  He will be missed!  Rest well friend."
~Beth Kaminaka

"Whenever I ran into Gary, no matter what pressing appointments we each had, we'd always end up talking at length, laughing, joking, pointing out some administrative pomposity, and laughing some more, and we'd end up late for wherever we were "supposed" to be. Behind it all was a deep concern we both shared in making a better world in every way. Gary must've kissed the Blarney Stone which is perhaps the best monument to his memory, because he could talk - eloquently and with passion. But he could also listen and he tried to understand things."
~Jonathan Reich

"A garden is based on time.
Architecture resists time"

(From LA 320 notes, fall Q 2000)
~John T.

"I started the program in September of 74, Gary was one of small clan of instructors, in some cases the students were older than the Faculty. Gary, Walt, Alice, Roger, John, Dick these are the ones who make very strong impacts on us. Raise a toast to those who have gone before, and to those who remain. Gary was rough, demanding and and a story teller that is what I will remember. Peace be with all that knew Gary, and be well especially in these challenging times."
~Baxter (Gene) Miller

"Gary was the instructor always asking about “how that could be built”; challenging each of us to think about construction. Those early days of the mid 70’s were inspiring. We were all truly blessed  for your time and dedication Gary."
~John Tully

"Gary started at Cal Poly the same year as I did.  In a year or so I was lucky to have moved to a house that was across the street from Gary.  I was very happy to find that out, as I always thought of Gary as a contemporary not as a Teacher.  We shared a beer or two and had a few discussions regarding non-collegiate matters.  Time well spent to say the least!  Gary will be missed by all that meet him, may God Bless his family, and all should know that he will be creating beautiful things and taking pictures in a really unique location with great lighting.  I too raise a toast to Gary as my good friend Baxter does above.  All be well.  LA 78."
~Bruce Cooper

"Sadly I never had him as a teacher but he did come into critiques for comments and I (and others) always sat on the edge of our seats to hear what he had to say.  I would have benefited from him in an artful way-another regret.  I will add that he seemed to enjoy just being there in Dexter-because of all the professors Gary was there a lot-often in his office with door open and several students talking shop loudly.  Also, I seemed to run into him downtown on a Friday or Saturday while bar hopping with classmates he would have his camera in hand photographing SLO at night-I think it amused him to see his student's off campus revelry."

"I have great memories of Gary and all the staff during my time there '74-'78. Saw a photo of Gary surrounded by students during the ball passing project, boy did that bring back memories, I agonized over that one lol...RIP Gary. LA 78"
~Tom Vannucci

"Somehow thoughts and bits of inspiration from Gary still resonate with me to this day compared to dry instructional "classes" that I soon forgot after graduation. He was disciplined enough to build a career out of his unique creativity - something all student of design aspire to. RIP"
~ Steven M. Jones

"I accidently went to his Design Lab first day of second year instead of the one I was assigned to. I immediately transferred to his class after sitting through just one lecture. He might have been small of stature, but the man was clearly a giant and I wanted to sit at his feet and learn. A quote I still tell all my clients, "Designers have clients. Artists don't. Take that to the bank."
~Erik Plato

"I always felt that I had to be on my toes around Dwyer. He was so generous with praise, and had an intensity about him. I didn't want to waste his time. I appreciate how he could both shelter us students and hold us to a high level of accountability in our work. We stayed up all night, many a night, to produce the best work we could for him."
~Bob Ladd

"Gary was an animal, in a good way he challenged you and made you think outside the box. He was ahead of his time in delivering Landscape Architecture in the late 80s when I attended the Landscape Architecture program. He always ended his discussions with you with a smile as if to say "Lets go you got this". A true artist and an asset as a Instructor for the University. God Bless your family.
~Phillip Dominguez

"I’m so grateful for Gary Dwyer and his unconventional approach to teaching and life. He helped me see it’s ok to be different and make people feel uncomfortable. I draw on his teachings daily. They remind me of what I can be my best at, and push me to challenge the norm. It will take discomfort to effect sustainable change."
~Bianca E. Koenig (‘02)

"I believe Gary’s initial workshop the old powerhouse, should be reopened for architectural artists.  I was a sculptural artist of his and have large carvings locked up there for way too many years.  This should be done in his memory."
~Don Jensen, Landscape Architect

"Gary was an amazing teacher, storyteller, able to paste a vision, paint a picture in his lectures and ramblings that stuck for life.  "You can grow grass on a billiards ball, I've done it, the question is 'Should you?" Irreverently able to lay out the practical with one sentence, his first statement in our Grading and Drainage class 'Just remember 's..t rolls downhill and you'll know all you need to know".

Starting in the Landscape Architecture program the year Gary started teaching, many of the profs were feeling their way through it - I just didn't know it.  I am so grateful and feel so lucky to have them as my instructors and guide me into this amazing career of making a difference.  Gary with the rest of the team, Roger, Walt, Alice, Dick, John, Dale have my forever thanks.

Another memory was of how he convinced the building inspector on his home that there was no need to excavate a footing to code when he'd hit solid granite - with that one antidote he taught me to be a problem solver, think of the intent vs. the rule to get to a creative, doable solution.

He has been in my thoughts often through the decades and will into the future.

Gary has entered eternity with the ancestors and I'm sure he's shaking things up."
~Daniel Veyna LA '78

"Gary was the best. He was smart, inspiring, creative, immensely capable, elegantly articulate and much of the time covered in sawdust. Like all outstanding teachers, he exuded a belief and confidence in his students no matter where they were in their development. His subtle but very apparent expressions of confidence in me were hugely appreciated and led me to bridge the gap between “I want to do this” and “I can do this.” Thank you, Gary. You touched a lot of people."
~Brian Powell

Gary was an extraordinary teacher, an inspiring mentor and a friend I will never forget.  I am so grateful Gary, for all you taught me, for all the fun we had on those many art competitions, and for your crazy stories and thoughtful ways.  Thank you for everything, you were one of a kind.  Whatever comes after this existence I know you will be embracing it with great enthusiasm and abiding humor and endless creativity.
~Corby Kilmer LA '89

“This was so sad to learn, but my memories of Gary and his creative support came flooding back to my heart.  I recall our student sojourn to the Carrizo Plains where Gary was exploring a land art concept to communicate with the San Andreas Fault.  That night on the plains video-recording our experiential interactions with the landscape has never left me.  Gary has always been one of my guiding spirits, and I feel honored to have known him.”
~Thomas Eddy LA '89

"I walked into his office after receiving his syllabus for the portfolio class crying. I told him I didn't know who I was, so how could I possibly tell other people who I am. He told me to do all of the assignments twice. Do the assignment first as it presents to my heart then second as it relates to completing the assignment. I did what he asked and I went on a much greater journey of finding myself than I ever could have imagined. He also encouraged me to be photographed and encouraged me to work with an Art/photography major who was looking to photograph someone. He helped me to understand my beauty through the lens of a camera. My life was deeply touched by Dwyer. I aim to inspire others towards greatness as he did."
~Tracy Wankner

“Gary told me that if I was uncomfortable with my behavior, to either change my behavior or change my moral code.  At 18, coming to SLO from a childhood that was isolated, highly controlled, and undervalued the role of women, nobody had ever even hinted to me that I was the owner of my own moral code.  He handed me a life changing revelation that I will always be grateful for.  It was the most powerful lesson I learned in college.”


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Related Content


LARCH and Other Scholarships

Apply for Scholarships


Jobs, Internships and more

Jobs & Internships


Gallery of Student Work

Check out Current Work


Your support is appreciated

Give to LARCH