Professor John A. Parker founded the Department of City and Regional Planning in 1946 and acted as chairmen until his 1974 retirement. He remained active in alumni affairs and other departmental functions for the subsequent 25 years.
Professor Parker envisioned the Department of City and Regional Planning as the first planning program in the nation with its principal university base in the social sciences rather than landscape design, architecture, or engineering.
Professor Parker was a native of Canada who earned an architecture degree and Master of City Planning degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was awarded the Medal of the American Society of Planning Officials in 1975, the Distinguished Professional Achievement Award from the North Carolina Chapter of APA in 1982, and the Distinguished Planning Educator Award of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in 1994. Professor Parker died in 2001 at the age of 91.