In 1981, because of his love of the natural world and his belief in education, Mr. Emory Smith donated his Hilltop property to Louisiana State University. It was placed under the management of the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture with the intent that it remain a model of the natural landscape and continue its use as an outdoor laboratory. Native plant enthusiasts; students from LSU and Southern University; public, private, and parochial schools; and the greater Baton Rouge community continue to use the Arboretum as an extension of the classroom to learn about natural systems, plants, and landscape design.
The mission of the LSU Hilltop Arboretum is to provide a sanctuary where students and visitors can learn about natural systems, plants, and landscape design.
The LSU Hilltop Arboretum will be a nationally-recognized center for the study of plants and landscape design. Hilltop will build upon donor Emory Smith’s love for native Louisiana plants and sanctuary. Stewardship of Hilltop is shared by the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and the Friends of Hilltop. Hilltop is an integral part of the School which uses the arboretum in its research, teaching, and service activities. Friends of Hilltop will provide education programs to engage the broader community, operational support and fundraising activities.