Williams College will rename the Great Hall in Goodrich in honor of Harry C. Payne, the college’s 14th president. The room will be called the Harry C. Payne Hall in Goodrich.
Payne Hall is the centerpiece of the student activity space created, under Payne’s leadership, with the $2.3 million renovation of Goodrich.
“This is a wonderfully appropriate honor for Hank Payne, who focused much of his time and energy on issues of student life, including the spectacular renovation of Goodrich into space for student use,” Morton Owen Schapiro, president of the College, said. “His dedication to Williams and in particular his remarkable focus on student life will now be commemorated for all time in this lovely space, which will be used by generations of William students.”
Built in 1859 to house the college chapel and an alumni center, Goodrich had served many purposes over the years when, in 1997-98, it was renovated into spaces for student activities. Payne Hall is the two-story center of the building and retains much of the look and feel of the original chapel. It now features a coffee and dessert bar, a sophisticated sound and lighting system, a projection screen, an elevated stage and a capacity of 500 people.
The project was one of the results of a full review of student life that Payne launched in 1994-95. This review led to the restructuring of every office on campus involved with student services and to greater student involvement in planning processes at the college, including the planning for the transformation of Goodrich.
The review also resulted in efforts to increase student involvement with public issues. This included greater support for student participation in community service, more high-profile panels and debates on public affairs, and more internships for students with non-profit and government agencies.
A commemorative plaque and oil portrait of Payne will be unveiled in the room at a private ceremony Sept. 23. The portrait was painted by George Augusta, a Massachusetts-based portrait artist whose work includes portraits of Chief Justice Warren Burger, Defense Secretary Clark Clifford and First Lady Rosalynn Carter. The college’s 14th president is also commemorated with the Harry C. Payne Williams College Professorship in the Liberal Arts, designed to promote and support interdisciplinary teaching and research.