College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


Bill Swanson

Born in Pontiac, Michigan Bill spent his formative years living in many cities of the United States including Saint Louis, Missouri, Los Angles, California, Phoenix, Arizona and finally arriving in Indianapolis in 1970.


  • Butler University, Indianapolis, IN. 1978 B.S. Double majors in Botany and the Environmental Studies Curriculum.
  • Miami University, Oxford, OH. 1981 M.S. in Botany specializing in Physiological Plant Ecology.
  • Ball State University, Muncie, IN. Pending. M.L.A. specializing in professional practice and technological resources in landscape design.


  • Lifetime member of the Indiana Academy of Sciences.
  • Member of the Indiana Growers Guild.
  • Member of the Board of Directors of The daVinci Pursuit-Bringing art and science together to understand the world around us.
  • Contributing Editor to the international Journal of Agriculture, Food Science, and Community Development, New Leaf Publishing.


Bill has had a variety of professional experiences after graduation.  In the 5 years beginning in 1981 as a member of the curatorial staff in the natural sciences at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis Bill was responsible for a number of team projects.  These included the design and installation of the Clowes' Garden Gallery, an introductory space to all the interior gallery spaces.  A new Natural Science Hall designed to inform and educate visitors to the many wonders of our natural world, history and geology.  A 125 acre Indiana State Nature Preserve, Ritchey Woods, was dedicated to raising the awareness of the importance of stewardship of Indiana's dwindling natural areas. 

In 1986 Swanson's Outdoor Designs was founded as a design and consulting firm dedicated to bringing scientific expertise to the art of landscape architecture.  Over the 25 years of operation many national clients have asked for his expertise.  Clients include The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Exide Battery Corporation, Architura Architects Corporation, The Department of Defense, The General Services Administration, The Toledo Parks Department, ATCS Engineers, Marsh Supermarkets, and Architecture Trio Architects.

Presently co-owner with his wife of 28 years, Maria Smietana, they operate Valentine Hill Farm.  A local sustainable family farm dedicated to applying ecologically sound practices to producing local organic and chemically unadulterated foods.  Included on this small Boone County, Indiana farmstead is a small artisan whole grain bakery.  As leaders in the local foods movement in central Indiana they practice the many skills first learned as students in liberal arts and sciences at Butler: observation, documentation, analysis, critical thinking, discussion, and presentation of ideas.