Woods appointed Michael A. McCarthy Professor

February 18, 2010

Professor Mary N. Woods, architecture, was named the first Michael A. McCarthy Professor of Architectural Theory, in Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP).

Woods, on the faculty since 1984, is an expert on American art and architectural history and theory. Since 2002 she has also been working in India on a history of women architects as well as Bollywood cinema and its theaters. Her research, writing, and curatorial work range across diverse “architectures” like books, drawings, cinema, photographs, and cities, as well as buildings. 

“I am humbled and deeply appreciative to be named the first McCarthy Professor,” says Woods. “It is always satisfying when your teaching and scholarship are recognized, but it is particularly so when such an honor is also for contributions to the broader Cornell community made with students and colleagues.” 

The McCarthy professorship was established to support an individual who is an intellectual bridge to the entire university and who enhances the teaching and research in AAP. 

“[Woods] is an exemplary university citizen, a resource for students, and a generous and supportive colleague to fellow faculty members,” says Kent Kleinman, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of Architecture, Art, and Planning. “We have never yet awarded the McCarthy Professorship, and it is a distinct pleasure and honor for me to extend this title to Professor Woods.

Woods knew McCarthy, having contributed an essay to the publication accompanying the gift of his papers — from his time at Cornell, his early work as an architect in Buffalo, and as a partner at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill — to the Cornell University Library.

In 1996, McCarthy (B.Arch. ‘57) established the endowment for the named professorship. It carries an annual stipend and is a five-year appointment.

“This appointment is a beginning, not an end for me,” says Woods. “I see it as a spur and challenge to complete publications and conferences on Gordon Matta-Clark and women architects in India as well as a documentary with filmmaker Vani Subramanian on the fate of single screen cinemas in India. I trust these projects, now so generously funded, in some way engage Cornell and the world just as Michael A. McCarthy did throughout his life and career.”

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