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William Smith Downing (1920-2011) was an architect and entrenpreneur who spent most of his career working in Ithaca, New York. Downing was born in Orange, New Jersey and studied at the University of Virginia, graduating with a degree in architecture in 1946. During his early career, he practiced architecture in Charlottesville, Virginia and in New York City, where he worked for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill and Edward Stone. After moving to Ithaca in 1959, Downing joined a local architectural firm and then established William Downing Associates. His firm was known for school additions, including Ithaca High School, as well as commercial buildings, including the Monarch Machine Tool Company located in Cortland, New York. In 1971, Downing purchased the former Ithaca junior high and high school, renovating the building into the DeWitt Mall, a successful example of adaptive reuse. The William S. Downing Prize was established at Cornell University in 1986 and is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding achievement in architectural design in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.