George McMath Historic Preservation Award

Each year, the McMath award celebrates a leader in the field of Historic Preservation who has made significant contributions in the state of Oregon. A recipient is publicly honored at a ceremony in conjunction with Historic Preservation's annual open house event in Portland. The recipient is typically invited to participate in lectures, workshops, and courses, and is also acknowledged on the School of Architecture & Environment's website.

The purpose of the award is to:

  • Honor and celebrate the legacy of George McMath
  • Raise awareness of historic preservation in Oregon
  • Recognize significant leaders in the field
  • Promote excellence in preservation practice
  • Recognize individual and group preservation contributions to the state’s historic landscape
  • Build partnerships between the professional and academic communities to enhance the field of preservation


The University of Oregon invites you to participate by making your nomination. Please review the criteria below to prepare your recommendations for future honorees. Nominations are usually due in the fall with selections announced in spring.

This award honors the achievements of a leader or entity that has excelled in the field of historic preservation. This individual or group has demonstrated most or all of the following achievements in the state of Oregon.


  • Has demonstrated distinguished merit in the field of historic preservation as evidenced by research, documentation, or practice in preservation
  • Has approached historic preservation as a method of urban revitalization that renews diverse, older neighborhoods
  • Has met the unique needs of a community through the rehabilitation and active use of significant buildings, open spaces, or landmarks, and urban areas, while being sensitive to both historic and evolving urban conditions
  • Has raised public awareness of historic preservation through practice, advocacy, or public policy
  • Has shown the highest caliber of preservation work throughout their career
  • Has made a demonstrable impact on the cultural and historical landscape of Oregon


  • Nominees must be individuals, organizations, companies, or agencies involved in historic preservation.
  • Preference may be given to those who have recognized heritage value within the community, city, or state levels.
  • Self-nominations will be accepted.

Judgment Categories

  • Innovation
  • Impact
  • Quality
  • Standards of preservation practice

A jury of educators and professionals will consider each nomination for outstanding contributions made in the state of Oregon.

An Opportunity for Historic Preservation Friends and Partners

The University of Oregon invites professionals, firms, and alumni at the forefront of preservation and development to join as friends and partners of the Historic Preservation Program. As a donor, you will help shape the future of Oregon's historic preservation efforts. Proceeds from the George McMath Historic Preservation Award event help support historic preservation students at the University of Oregon. Your donations and event sponsorships help the program in important ways. Thank you!

Your charitable gifts will help secure investments necessary to:

  • Support new full time faculty and visiting professors
  • Participate in unique research opportunities
  • Provide recruiting funds to attract an international student body
  • Provide graduate teaching fellowships

Visit our online giving site to make your donation to the University of Oregon Foundation for the support of the UO Historic Preservation Program.

For more information on becoming a donor, contact Tina Rinaldi, Director of Donor Relations, 541-346-3989 or

About George McMath

George McMathGeorge McMath, FAIA, is widely remembered as one of the most important figures in the preservation and restoration of Portland's historic buildings. From an early age McMath had an interest in architecture, particularly preservation and restoration architecture.

After witnessing the demolition of several of Portland's historic buildings, McMath was inspired with a passion to protect and preserve Portland's architectural history. During the 1960s and 1970s, McMath worked tirelessly toward his goal of architectural preservation. He was chairman for several different organizations and committees, crafted laws to protect historic buildings, carried out surveys of Portland's architecture, personally worked on countless restoration projects, and always acted as a leader in preserving Portland's architectural history.

McMath's work was so influential that in 1981, he was recognized by the American Institute of Architects with one of its highest honors when he was elected into its College of Fellows for his leadership in the field of Architectural Preservation. At the time of his semi-retirement in 1996, McMath had cemented his reputation as the "father of preservation" and as one of the most significant figures in Oregon architecture. He died in 2007.

Learn More about George McMath’s Contributions to Historic Preservation