Thursday, September 3, 2009


Dear Friends,

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of our friend and colleague Dr. Jeff Lackney today August 29th at 11:00 am. Jeff is survived by his wife Jill and his son Nick.

Prof. Stephen Heppell's sentiments in his posting about Jeff are worth repeating here, Somewhere in all this you seemed to have pushed a snowball off a cliff that has gathered into an avalanche that will touch quite literally millions of lives as around the planet we all now seek to move on from that old factory model of learning to the inspired, delightful, playful, effective, engaging world that great design now offers our learners today.

Jeff has been so integral a part of our life and work that it is impossible to find the right words to describe how much he will be missed. And so, for now at least, we’d rather think about the invaluable gift he gave us by being a part of our lives; of the many fun times we had together in all corners of the world; of the magic he was able to create every time he put pencil (or pen) to paper; of the powerful and indelible mark he has left on our profession; of his laughter – and how he continued to keep a positive attitude and enjoy life despite his deteriorating health. The above picture of a smiling Jeff was taken by Prakash just a few months ago in Malaysia. This is how we will always remember him.

Jeff- You’re the Man! And you always will be. We love you brother and we’ll carry the torch for you. Knowing you, we are guessing you are wondering what the fuss is all abut as you sip your favorite Mojito in some heavenly place (and we mean that literally of course) surveying with well-deserved satisfaction the vast global tapestry of your unique contributions.

Randy and Prakash
Hi Prakash,
Hi Randy,
I was deeply saddened to hear about your dear friend, colleague and business partner Jeff Lackney.
Jeff was one of those particularly likeable people that you meet, and who leave a lasting impression. That was true of my experience of meeting Jeff.
I very much enjoyed working with him, and I admired his exceptional intuition and skills.
I remember vividly, taking him to Rebel Sport and helping him purchase an Australian Rules football (a "footy") for him to take home to his son Nick, who he clearly adored. As a proud father myself, I immediately recognised another extremely proud DAD.
Jeff was impressed with our game of football, and was keen to expose our game to Nick. I gave him web links for Nick to view.
Consequently, I would like you to pass on to Nick that if ever in his lifetime he comes to Melbourne, Australia, I would be extremely delighted for him to make contact, and I will take him to one of our footy games in honour of his dad. Please pass on my offer to Nick.
We haven't kept in touch, which is unfortunate, but I do have fond memories of working with the "three musketeers" and I hope we can resurrect our relationship in the future.
Nonetheless, I remain deeply saddened by the tragic death of Jeff Lackney and I pass on my fondest regards to Jeff's family and to you both.
I look forward to catching up with you in the future.
A very sad,

John Patrick
My dear friend, I only had a few times to meet you (in Spain), but that was enough to understand easily what a good man you have been.
I remember you and I visiting the University-City of Madrid, when we acceded to the roof of the Faculty of Law, in order to have a panoramic view. I also remember our conversation over there, wondering about the traces of the American Campus model that you identified in the arrangement of buildings and spaces, seeing them from that tall point of view…
A few months later, I was happy to have the excellent prologue which you kindly wrote for me, which was published in my book “Campus-Madrid”.
My dear Jeff: my pain of missing you is strong. I hope that from where you are now, you keep on inspiring all of us to learn from your professional wisdom, and –overall- from you fascinating personal virtues.
With all my love
Pablo Campos Calvo-Sotelo
PhD Architect
University Campus Planning & Design

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wisconsin State Journal, Monday, August 31, 2009

Lackney, Jeffery A.
Jeffery A. "Jeff" Lackney, age 48, of Shorewood Hills passed away on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009, at HospiceCare Inc. in Fitchburg. He was born April 17, 1961, in Raleigh, N.C., the son of Robert R. and Barbara A. Lackney. Jeff is survived by his wife, Jill Dittrich Lackney; a son, Nickolas; his parents; and three brothers, Todd, Chris and Matthew. He will be greatly missed by all who know and love him. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Those who wish to express their sympathy with a gift may wish to consider HospiceCare Inc, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg, WI 53711.
Gunderson West Funeral and Cremation Centers 7435 University Ave. (608) 831-6761

Jeff's Work at Porirua College, New Zealand

Jeff was instrumental for his work during the initial planning and concept design stages of Porirua College development.

He was also heavily involved with the concept design of Ara Hau – Stage 01 of Porirua College early in 2008. During this time Jeff was undergoing treatment and by all accounts was not very well. From a conversation I had with Jeff at the time, he wanted to continue to work on stage 01, that it helped to keep him in a positive frame of mind, especially knowing that he was still helping the school from what was started back in 2006. It is with regret that he won’t be able to see the completion of development however I’m sure he will know that he has left the future of Porirua College in very capable hands.

I enclose brief overview of Jeff’s contribution to the development of Porirua College.... (please view at

Yours Faithfully,

Martin Watson

A Typical Mystical Walk in the Woods With Jeff Lackney, "North of 60"

One of the things64 Jeff and I always did wherever we were, in (or out of) the country was to take a walk and have a look around. I came to relish those walks because they were times of sharing and, of course, laughing. We were about as different as two people could be from each other- me, South Philly crude and Jeff the epitome of Midwest nice. For some reason though, the combination worked just fine. Some years ago, Lackney and I were giving a workshop for educational facilities designers in Yellowknife, Canada in the Northwest Territories, "north of 60". We heard that there was a beautiful waterfall about an hour north of Yellowknife, so we were determined that our walk that day would be a hike in the Great North Woods to the majestic Cameron Falls. We arrived at the trailhead to the waterfall- me in business casual and Jeff in wingtips, a suit, and a nice gabardine overcoat! As soon as we were on the trail, a robin-sized gray bird landed in a tree about 12 inches from us. We thought that was "interesting" and assumed that the bird would have a look at these 2 hiking knuckleheads looking like we were going to meet clients instead of taking a moderately difficult almost 2 mile trek in the snow. As we set out on the trail, we must have really amused this bird, dressed as we were because he followed along with us closely the whole way to the waterfall, about 90 minutes away. We eventually made it to that magnificent place, then sat and admired Cameron Falls for almost an hour. Of course that bird stayed with us at the Falls, occasionally joining in our conversation (just kidding!). We then made ready to head back to the car and got back on the trail1670265-Cameron_Falls_Walking_Trail-Yellowknife with our guide, who accompanied us back to the trailhead, hopping from tree to tree, so close that we could touch him. As we were in the car on the road back to Yellowknife, our feathered friend flew directly and knowingly in front of our windshield. Just another typical time together with my good friend, Jeff Lackney. Damn!, I'm going to miss that guy.

-- John Sole

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Tribute to Dr. Jeff Lackney

Thousands of people around the world have followed Jeff Lackney’s educational design research and practice since 1998 on DesignShare. Several of us at DesignShare and Fielding Nair International owe a deep debt of gratitude to Jeff for showing us so many tangible ways of changing the world, one school at a time. Beyond the dozens of original publications that he authored, Jeff has contributed a significant body of work to the global school design profession as a Senior Design Architect with Fielding Nair International.

This is a tribute to Jeff and a place to record his legacy. As many know, Jeff has been battling liver cancer and is seriously ill. However, since being diagnosed more than two years ago, Jeff has dealt with his grave illness with the courage and grace that has characterized his whole life, beating the odds time and again to the bafflement of his attending physicians. Where others might simply have given up, Jeff embraced life with even more vigor, devoting time to his family and also traveling to many exotic locations around the world to work on school projects. As a result, he has continued to produce outstanding and truly original designs that will benefit dozens of communities and thousands of children for many years to come.

We encourage you to use this blog to share your thanks and memorable stories about the impact Jeff has had on you.