Building’s name to honor Schapiro

With President Schapiro’s term coming to a close at the end of this summer, the South Academic Building (SAB) will be named Schapiro Hall in honor of the College’s 16th president. The official dedication of Schapiro Hall will take place next month at the celebration for the Climb Far fundraising campaign, when many of the campaign’s contributors will be on campus.

“Given Morty’s passion for teaching and his affection for faculty and students – and vice versa -the donors felt that naming a prominent academic building was an appropriate and much deserved tribute,” said Greg Avis ’80, the chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, as well as the Presidential Search Committee. “Response to the naming news by the Williams community has been unanimously positive.”

In a campus-wide e-mail sent last Thursday, Avis informed students that “a group of trustees, alumni and parents have come together to provide the funds needed to name the South Academic Building in honor of the College’s 16th President. It is wonderful that succeeding generations of students, faculty and staff will now have a permanent reminder of the many ways their lives have been touched by Morty.”

Schapiro said that the news was not new to him. “I found out about the intention of the board more than a year ago, after they had already asked a number of alumni and parents with whom I am particularly close to give gifts in my honor,” Schapiro said. “I was flattered that they thought to do this; I was overwhelmed by the amount of money they raised over a short period of time.”

While there was discussion concerning whether to announce the naming and dedication of the building last summer, before the faculty moved into the building, Schapiro preferred that the announcement be made after he left the College. However, the dedication of the building has since been moved up from the fall because of the campaign celebration taking place next month.

“Buildings get named by agreements by the Board of Trustees to recognize or to honor the donor of a building,” said Jim Kolesar, director of Public Affairs. “Colleges and non-profit organizations in recent decades have made [the process of naming buildings] into campaigning efforts. [In this case], a small group of trustees, alumni and families raised money in order to name the building after President Schapiro.”

A small portion of the extra funds raised was necessary for naming the building, while the funds raised as part of the Williams Campaign were applied to construction costs. The specific amount of funds contributed for the building dedication will be made public at the campaign celebration. In addition, a plaque and modest signage will be erected after the building’s dedication next month.

“I was thrilled when I found out that SAB would become Schapiro Hall, especially since I look out over the building from my office,” Dean Merrill said. “For those of us who’ve worked at the college with Morty, it’ll be a great reminder of his presence here, as I imagine it’ll also be for the scores of students he’s had over the years who’ll keep returning as alums.”

“I love the new buildings and it is a real thrill to have one of them named after me,” Schapiro said. “As a proud member of the Williams faculty for 20 years, I can think of no greater honor than to have a faculty office [and] classroom building with my name on it.”