Over Winter Break, the Weitzman community lost longtime supporter Robin Beckett. Beckett graduated from the Department of City and Regional Planning in 1975 and served on the Board of Advisors from 2006 to 2018. Here, Randy Mason, professor in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, reflects on her many contributions to Penn.
Robin Beckett (MCP‘75) was a great friend and supporter of Penn, the Weitzman School of Design, and the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. Her work with students at our School was extraordinary, generous, and personal. Through her committed mentoring of students, her advocacy for career-service support, and financial support, many cohorts of HSPV graduates felt the direct impact of her long service on the School’s Board of Advisors.
Robin’s careers included planner, banker, and committed preservationist and activist. Her banking work included several years in Hong Kong (and she had great stories about traveling in Shanghai!). In preservation, her work in a local frame involved her in many projects, issues, and historic places in New Canaan, Connecticut, and New York City. She was active nationally, as well, serving on the board of the National Association of Preservation Commissions.
Her personal and material contributions to our School directly improved students’ experiences. She created and endowed the Robin M. Beckett Fund which continues to support field-based learning experiences and conference attendance for current graduate students.
Robin’s steadfast support of our Program was a highlight of my years as chair – as were our many conversations about our School, the preservation field, her uphill battles in New Canaan preservation debates, and always, “What are you working on next?!” She demonstrated over and over again her great passion, dedication, and deep care for others – especially Penn preservationists. She will be greatly missed.