Margarita Piel McCoy, FAICP, began her professional career in planning in 1959 as an elected member of the planning board in Sudbury, Massachusetts. She served as an administrator and faculty member in planning at USC and as professor and chair in the department of urban and regional planning at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. She retired in 1989.
 
McCoy served on the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) commission from 1979 to 1982 and from 1990 to 1994, and was president from 1981 to 1982. She served on the American Planning Association (APA) Board of Directors from 1979 to 1982, and in 1986, received APA’s Distinguished Service Award. She has also been a member of the Planning Accreditation Board and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). She was inducted into the American Institute of Certified Planners’ College of Fellows in 2000.
 
McCoy has served as a role model and mentor for women entering the planning field, and her work has included advocacy for women in many different arenas. In 1995, ACSP established the Margarita McCoy Award for individuals who further the advancement of women at universities through service, teaching, and research.