McMath Award Recipients

2020 George McMath Historic Preservation Award

The recipient of the 2020 George McMath Historic Preservation Award is Stephen Dow Beckham. He will be celebrated at the Historic Preservation Open House, slated for November 2020 (date to be determined based on COVID-19).

It is our pleasure to share the wonderful news with you that the 2020 George McMath Historic Preservation Award goes to Stephen Dow Beckham (see bio below). Because of the current global health situation, the McMath Award Ceremony and Historic Preservation Program Open House typically scheduled in May has been postponed until early November, with a specific date to be determined and announced in late summer.

This free evening event will gather alumni, preservation professionals, students, and friends of the University of Oregon Historic Preservation program to:

  • Celebrate the career contributions of Stephen Dow Beckham
  • Celebrate the Historic Preservation program’s 40-year history
  • Meet current students and learn about their work and ideas for the future of the field
  • Hear about ongoing faculty and student research projects
  • Tour the Historic Preservation classrooms, workspaces, and library and learn about the history and rehabilitation of the National Register–listed White Stag Block
  • Share ideas about preservation education opportunities and approaches

Moving forward, we will continue presenting the George McMath Historic Preservation Award as part of our Historic Preservation Spring Open House.

Registration for the 2020 George McMath Historic Preservation Award and Open House will begin in early fall.

Please look for more information in late summer.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Stephen Dow Beckham


Stephen Dow Beckham Stephen Dow Beckham is an American historian and preservationist known for his work with Native Americans and the American West, especially the Pacific Northwest and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He has authored numerous books, exhibitions, and environmental impact and planning studies, and is a Pamplin Professor Emeritus of History at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Throughout his career, Beckham has worked across disciplinary lines bridging preservation, history, historical archaeology, and ethnography of both Native Americans and Euro-Americans. In the 1970s, he undertook a six-month field reconnaissance, traveling 22,000 miles and visiting every county, to find, document, photograph, and prepare site forms for hundreds of historic (and some prehistoric) sites in Oregon. This project led to the establishment of the Oregon Historic Sites Database now maintained by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

Beckham has been a strong proponent of archaeological investigations at historic sites, researching available historical documents and co-authoring historical archaeological reports on Port Orford, Fort Cascades, Fort Lugenbeel, and Fort Vancouver, as well as numerous other historic sites, including the Malheur Indian Agency, the Oregon Trail campsite at Rock Corral, historic homesteads, early railroad remains in the Columbia Gorge, and the Burnside Bridge in Portland.

Beckham is an authority on Indian law and has worked with 25 tribes across the United States as an expert witness in land claims, reservation, hydropower, and Indian gaming litigation. He has prepared documentation for at least eight properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the author of a dozen books, including Requiem for a People: The Rogue Indians and the Frontiersmen (1971); The Indians of Western Oregon: This Land Was Theirs (1977); and Many Faces: An Anthology of Oregon Autobiography (1993).

Beckham’s many awards include Oregon Professor of the Year, the American Historical Association’s Asher Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Earle A. Chiles Award for “contributions to the understanding of the high desert interior of the American West.” He has been appointed to the State Advisory Commission on Historic Preservation by three governors, and currently serves as the committee chair.

A native Oregonian, Beckham was raised in Coos Bay and educated in local public schools and at the University of Oregon (BA in History, 1964) and UCLA (MA, 1966; PhD 1969 in History and Anthropology).

Previous Recipients

2018—Rick Michaelson

2017—Oregon Black Pioneers

2016—Sally Donovan

2015—Leo Dean Williams

2014—Donald Peting

2013—William J. Hawkins III, FAIA

2012—Hal S. Ayotte

2011—Elisabeth Walton Potter

2010—Cathy Galbraith

2009—James Hamrick