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Hayes McAlonie receives lifetime achievement award from AIA New York State

Kelly Hayes McAlonie and Elizabeth Chu Richter stand at a memorial marker at Louise Bethune's grave in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Kelly Hayes McAlonie (left) and Elizabeth Chu Richter stand at a memorial marker at Louise Bethune's gravesite in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Hayes McAlonie has researched the life and career of Bethune, the first professional woman architect in America, for more than a decade. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published February 7, 2022


Kelly Hayes McAlonie, architect and director of campus planning at UB, was recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York State as a 2021 James William Kideney Award recipient.

The award is the highest honor bestowed on a member of the organization, and celebrates a lifetime of contributions to the profession, the professional society and the community. A virtual ceremony took place on Jan. 20.

Hayes McAlonie has been involved with the AIA for over 20 years. In 2008, she served as president of AIA Buffalo/Western New York, and as president of AIA New York State in 2012. In those roles, she spearheaded efforts related to member value and community engagement for both Buffalo/WNY and AIANYS. Hayes McAlonie founded the AIA New York State Excelsior Awards, a program that celebrates New York State public architecture projects.

Impacting future generations

Hayes McAlonie has been an active community member in Western New York, working to uplift and expand architecture opportunities.

She has been part of the UB community since 2010. As director of campus planning, she oversees development of the university’s built environment and has been instrumental in leading multiple planning efforts. In her first role at UB, she served as associate director of capital, facilities and space planning. Among her enduring and notable accomplishments, she helped bring to life a master plan for the construction of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building on UB’s Downtown Campus.

In the local community, Hayes McAlonie co-founded and facilitated the Architecture + Education program with the AIA Buffalo/Western New York Chapter and the Buffalo Public Schools. Through partnerships with teachers and volunteer architects, the program helps introduce design and architecturally focused collaborative work into K-12 curriculums.

For more than a decade, Hayes McAlonie has researched the life and career of Louise Bethune, the first professional woman architect in America. Bethune joined the Western New York Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006 in part due to Hayes McAlonie’s work. Hayes McAlonie also co-curated an exhibit about Bethune for the Buffalo History Museum in 2011 and is collaborating with SUNY Press and the UB Libraries to write a monograph. Additionally, Hayes McAlonie is working with the Trailblazing Women of Western New York to create landmarks honoring women leaders from the region, including Bethune.

In her 2013 Buffalo TEDxWomen Talk, “The Power Dress,” Hayes McAlonie shared lessons, experiences and obstacles she faced as a woman architect. She tied her experiences to Bethune’s life and profound legacy, acknowledging figures that have paved the way for future architects. She also discussed the process and success of launching Architect Barbie — an “I Can Be” career doll that aims to inspire young girls, a collaboration with UB colleague Despina Stratigakos and Mattel Inc.