College of Architecture, Art and Construction

Architecture + Health alumna receives Roaring10 Award


Master of Architecture in Architecture + Health alumna Emily McGee (McGowan) recently received a Roaring10 Award from the Clemson Alumni Association.

Each year, the Clemson Young Alumni Council recognizes ten outstanding individuals, within 10 years of graduation from Clemson, for their impact on business, leadership, community, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors. Specifically, the award is given to individuals who exemplify Clemson’s core values of honesty, integrity, and respect.

According to McGee, being recognized as a Roaring10 recipient was an incredible honor.

 “This award reminds me of my gratitude for the time here at Clemson. The Architecture + Health program prepared me for an enriching career and fostered my non-traditional and global path,” McGee said.

After graduating from Ball University in 2011 with a degree in Architecture and Graphic Design, McGee moved to Indianapolis to work at a smaller architectural firm focusing on healthcare design.

“Though healthcare design wasn’t what I’d picture myself doing, I quickly fell in love with the complexity of this typology and the ability to see how directly the things we design impact the lives of patients, staff, and their communities,” explained McGee.

McGee then moved to Washington, D.C., to work at the national firm SmithGroup. There, she was recruited by fellow Tiger Brenna Costello, AIA ACHA, who, according to McGee, became an instrumental mentor in her career.

“With her encouragement, I later applied to the Clemson Architecture + Health program,” McGee said. “I was inspired by Clemson’s top-ranked program leading the way in health facility design. I was also interested in further studying the relationships between architecture, human health, and well-being. Learning from the program’s director, David Allison, and notable professors like Dr. Dina Battisto and Dr. Anjali Joseph was also wonderful!”

Now, McGee, an architectural and healthcare designer at HOK, works to deliver complex, large-scale projects that impact vulnerable and underserved communities. 

“My most formative involvements at HOK have centered on delivering hospital projects that promote equity and bring access to quality care for medically underserved populations in the United States,” McGee shared. She has recently worked on the design for the United Health Service (UHS) Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center of GW Health at the historic St. Elizabeths Campus, a community hospital designed in partnership with the government of the District of Columbia.

As the leader of HOK’s IMPACT program, McGee’s work allows her to develop her values and interests beyond individual projects. It specifically allows her to apply her design skill sets in more significant ways, including architectural responses to social responsibility.

“HOK’s IMPACT program seeks opportunities to provide pro-bono architectural services that benefit the community,” she explained. “By liaising with partners in academia, non-profit organizations, and government institutions, I can leverage HOK’s resources to develop and implement a shared vision to amplify their missions through design thinking and architectural interventions.”

McGee believes that many people who enter the architecture profession enter it with the hopes of using their skills to give back.

“My most significant message for anyone interested in architecture or this program is that whether you’re designing hospitals, residences, or commercial or civic structures, remember that you are shaping spaces and lives first,” she shared.

According to McGee, being back on campus for the Roaring10 ceremony was a terrific time, stating that she enjoyed meeting the other accomplished young alumni in the 2023 Roaring10 cohort. Emily was also inspired by seeing the Distinguished Service Award recipients.

“Clemson provided an excellent foundation and is truly a special place,” McGee shared. “I look forward to finding ways to continue to give back to the University and serve others as an alumni.”

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