As a Gilmour student, Paul Neundorfer ’83 says he learned respect, empathy and dignity from many individuals who demonstrated and nurtured these values. Today, Neundorfer applies them in his work as a landscape architect and in his efforts to resettle refugees from Burma and Southeast Asia who have moved to Cleveland.
Neundorfer is founder, principal and president of Aristotle Enterprises Inc., a landscape design and land-planning firm. He was on hand at Gilmour’s Alumni Reunion last June when Gilmour Trustee Jim Pender and his wife, Kathy, dedicated the new Michael Pender ’90 Garden outside the new Athletic Center. It is named for their son, Michael ’90, who died in 1991. Neundorfer designed the plan for the garden and built the carved bench in it. He worked with the Penders and architects David Holzheimer ’64 and Peter Bolek on the project.
The alum also is an executive director of The Refugee Response, which empowers refugees to become self-sufficient and contributing members of their new communities. Neundorfer and David Wallis started the nonprofit last year after assisting refugees in Northeast Ohio for several years. Recently, The Refugee Response worked with other community groups to develop a six-acre garden in Ohio City to provide fresh food for low-income residents in the neighborhood and to generate revenue for immigrant farmers. Great Lakes Brewing Company plans to use the produce in its restaurant and ultimately the produce might be used to make salsas and salad dressings for commercial use.
He believes that a person’s capacity for success is framed by his or her values, character, motives, habits, traits, style, behavior and skills. “Success is created through extraordinary performance whether on the playing field; designing and creating a unique, beautiful space or teaching a refugee child the alphabet,” he says.
After graduating from Gilmour, Neundorfer earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He was a landscape architect in Boston and Cleveland before starting Aristotle Enterprises. He is currently working on an irrigation system in Kenya. His travels also have taken him to Nepal, Thailand, Africa and Hong Kong.
In 1988, Neundorfer was inducted into the Gilmour Athletic Hall of Fame and he received several fellowships for independent study as a Harvard student. He runs marathons and bicycles recreationally, recently participating in the 320-mile Pan Ohio Hope Ride to support the American Cancer Society. Every winter, he is a visiting lecturer and senior thesis studio critic in landscape architecture at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Each spring, he and his family and friends make 50 to 100 gallons of maple syrup on the family property in Chardon where he was raised.
Last May, Neundorfer proudly sat watching his nephew, Peter, graduate during Gilmour’s 61st Commencement – while sitting with his other nephew, Eric, who graduated from the Academy the previous year. “Gilmour was a great experience,” Neundorfer says, “and prepared them well for college and for life.”