Alumni profile: Marcia Rees Conrad ’72

As a child growing up in Syracuse in the 1950’s and 60’s, Marcia Rees Conrad fondly remembers accompanying her father on various carpentry projects and visiting the summer house he designed and built on Oneida Lake. Fascinated by the world of architecture, she was disappointed — but not discouraged — to learn that there were relatively few if any female architects in Central New York who could serve as role models. Indeed, she recalls reading that women simply didn’t become architects. And that statement only made her passion for the profession grow stronger.

When she discovered a new program being offered at Onondaga Community College, she says she found exactly what she was looking for. “I am so grateful for the opportunity I had at Onondaga,” says Conrad. “The professors really opened a whole new world for me that, at the time, I wasn’t entirely certain was possible.”

In 1972, when the College’s brand-new campus on Onondaga Hill consisted of the first few buildings, Conrad became the first female in the first class of graduates from OCC’s architectural technology associate’s degree program. From there, she earned a bachelor of science in architecture from The Ohio State University, married an Ohio native and began her job search in the Midwest. She credits Onondaga with providing a solid foundation on which she has built a successful career in architecture for nearly 35 years.

Conrad, a registered architect, is employed by Moody Nolan Inc., in Columbus, Ohio and she is actively involved in her community. She serves as the chair of a communitybased committee sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) whose goal is to use architecture as a tool to enhance education for children in grades K-8.

Conrad is also keeping pace with efforts involving sustainable design and green architecture. She was the first architect in her office to earn accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED). She is currently working on projects at Children’s Hospital in Columbus, including the new Central Energy Plant, the first LEED-registered project on the Children’s Hospital campus. “No matter if I’m the project manager or a catalyst on a project, I am proud to be a contributing member of the team,” says Conrad.

Earlier this year, Conrad returned to the Onondaga campus to share her professional and personal insights with students in the architectural technology program. While on
campus she remarked, “My professors made such a difference in my life. They helped me create a plan for the future so my dream of becoming an architect could become a reality.”

Marcia Rees Conrad lives in Columbus, Ohio and has two daughters in college. To learn more about Conrad’s work with Moody Nolan, visit