Professor Emerita Margarita McCoy, a former chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, has died. She was 92.
McCoy was a professor in the department from 1975 to 1989, serving as its chair from 1977 to 1983. The College of Environmental Design, in order to recognize her contributions to the university and her field, plans to establish the Margarita McCoy Memorial Scholarship, which will benefit female students in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.
McCoy was a pioneer for women in the urban planning field. Her 50-year career began in 1959 as an elected member of the planning board for the city of Sudbury in Massachusetts.
She was active on several professional and accreditation boards including the American Institute of Certified Planners, the American Planning Association, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning – the latter of which established an award in her honor recognizing individuals that further the advancement of women at universities though service, teaching and outreach.
McCoy served nine years on the La Habra Heights Planning Commission, and through 300 public hearings opened up the process for the city’s general plan. She worked to balance development with nature preservation, determined to protect a patch of California meadows in the city’s steep hills at Powder Canyon.
She worked to link the meadows, where wildlife thrived, to other natural areas along the region’s chaparral-covered ridgelines to sustain animal habitats, even in the middle of urban Southern California.
It was only after she could no longer hike down ravines and construction sites to inspect every building application did she decide to retire for the third – and final – time at age 88.
The College of Environmental Design is hosting a memorial to celebrate McCoy’s life on Monday, May 16 at 7 p.m. in the building 7 atrium and gallery.
To RSVP or for more information on the event, visit https://mccoy-memorial.eventbrite.com.