Award-winning preservation educator and architect, Donald Peting has influenced the breadth and scope of the University of Oregon’s Historic Preservation Program and is the founding director of the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School. He is being honored with the 2014 George McMath Historic Preservation Award, the sixth annual award, at a luncheon in Portland on May 14, 2014.
Peting works as a preservation architect on significant Northwest buildings. A scholar of historic structures and building technology, he has studied and consulted on sites as nearby as UO’s Deady Hall, and the Thompson’s Flouring Mills in Shedd, Oregon and far away as stone buildings in Oira, Italy. Joining the UO faculty in 1963, he taught structures and design studio in the Department of Architecture.
He became involved in historic buildings at the urging of the late Professor Philip Dole who needed a faculty member colleague with expertise in building structures and preservation technology. It was a successful partnership and the Historic Preservation Program was launched in 1980. Peting was one of the founders of the UO’s program, along with Philip Dole and Marian Donnelly, and directed the program from 1992 until 2002, after the directorships held by Dole and the late Professor Michael Shellenbarger. He also was the founding director of the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School beginning in 1995.
Chosen for the 2014 McMath Award, committee member George Kramer said, “While others may have started the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Oregon, and nurtured it through its beginnings, any accounting of those individuals that have sustained the program over its entire lifespan would have to begin with Don Peting. As a strong advocate for the program, a steadfast, almost self-less, supporter of its goals and its students, Don has always been there, teaching architecture and structure to non-architects, crawling through attics and basements on field trips, and providing wise counsel. The McMath Award is well-deserved recognition of his many contributions to the field of historic preservation in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.”
Jay Raskin, architect, and member of the McMath Award committee, added, “Living many years in rural Oregon, I am especially appreciative of the Preservation Field School, whose programs were often in rural areas of the Northwest. Besides the actual restoration that was accomplished it helped raise awareness of these many historic resources both in their communities and in the Northwest.”
Along with the McMath Award, Peting has been recognized by Preservation Education Award from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation in 2006 and the James Marston Fitch Lifetime Achievement Award for Historic Preservation, an honor presented to him by the National Council for Preservation Education in 2005.
A graduate from University of Illinois and the University of California, Berkeley, Associate Professor Emeritus Donald Peting officially retired from the UO in 2002 after serving as director of the Historic Preservation Program for over ten years. He was appointed to the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation and has served since 2010. Peting continues to teach and mentor students, architects, and craftspeople as part of the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School. He has established two funds at the UO Foundation to support architecture and historic preservation students. The Betty Peting Traveling Fellowship was established in 2007 in loving memory of his wife and the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School Director’s Scholarship provides tuition support for historic preservation students to attend the field school.
The McMath Award is well-deserved recognition of his many contributions to the field of historic preservation in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest and his leadership and dedication to education and research at the University of Oregon.