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MacDonald Becket papers documenting the work of Wurdeman and Becket, Welton Becket and Associates, and the Becket Group, 1944-2011

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Becket (MacDonald) Papers Documenting the Work of Wurdeman and Becket, Welton Becket and Associates and the Becket Group

Biographical/Historical Note

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, MacDonald Becket received his B.Arch in 1952 from the University of Southern California (USC). While still a student, Becket began to work part-time at Wurdeman and Becket, the Los Angeles architecture firm of his uncle, Welton Becket. From the summer of 1948, which he spent operating a blueprint machine, MacDonald Becket progressed through the ranks of the firm. Upon his graduation from USC, he became a project manager for Welton Becket and Associates, the new firm his uncle formed after the death of Walter Wurdeman. His first assignment involved a parking structure for one of the firm's highest profile projects, Bullock's Pasadena. In the following years, MacDonald Becket led a broad range of projects, helped develop the firm's New York office, and progressively expanded his role within the firm; all of which culminated in his being named as president of the firm shortly before Welton Becket's death in January 1969. In this position and then as chief executive officer and chairman of the board, MacDonald Becket oversaw the expansion of the firm into a global architectural giant. With growth, the structure of the firm also changed. By the early 1980s, the Becket Group headed by MacDonald Becket operated several subsidiaries, including Becket International, Welton Becket Associates, Becket Construction Administrators and Becket Investments. In 1987, the Becket Group merged with Ellerbe, a Minnesota-based firm, to form Ellerbe Becket.

In addition to his leading role at Welton Becket and Associates and the Becket Group, MacDonald Becket has been active in architectural, academic, cultural and diplomatic circles. A fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Becket has served on the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Building Sciences and on the United States Capitol Architect's Long-Range Planning Committee. Becket is also a benefactor of USC, from which he earned a certificate in business economics in addition to his architecture degree.

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