Barclay Jones Lab Dedicated

December 7, 2006

Barclay Jones was “the ideal planning professor,” a man with degrees in fine arts, architecture, planning, and economics. He pioneered the field of disaster planning. He reinvigorated Cornell’s planning program and was a key figure in it for over 30 years. And besides all that, he was “a true eccentric” and a man for whom “being a father to his students was a serious occupation.”

These were some of the comments made on December 1 as dozens of faculty, alumni, and others (many sporting imitations of Jones’s trademark bow ties) gathered to dedicate the city and regional planning department’s new Barclay G. Jones Urban Design Laboratory.

Jones taught in CRP from 1961 until his untimely death in 1997, and is credited with infusing advanced social science theory and methods into the department’s professional degree programs and significantly enhancing the quality and international reputation of the doctoral program. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in 1992.

Honored guests at the dedication included Jones’s son and daughter, Barclay Gibbs Jones III and Louise Tompkins Jones ’87. Among the speakers was Robert Schwarting ’71, who described Professor Jones as “one of the most important people in my life” and delivered a series of affectionate, often humorous anecdotes about him. 

Also speaking in honor of Barclay Jones were Dean Mohsen Mostafavi, CRP chair Kenneth Reardon (Ph.D. ’90), and CRP professors Susan Christopherson and William Goldsmith (Ph.D. ’68).

Louise Jones cut the ribbon at the door of the lab, which is located in West Sibley Hall and contains state-of-the-art computers with imaging software, architectural drafting tables, and a printing and scanning facility. Already in use, the lab is a key part of CRP’s renewed commitment to physical planning.

Center stage in the lab was a clay model for a bust of Barclay Jones created by associate professor of art Robert Bertoia. When completed, the bust will be cast in bronze and placed permanently in the lab.

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