A week in Williams history

Nearly 100 years ago, the will of Elizabeth Patterson was found, bequeathing $130,000 (nearly $3 million in today’s terms) for the purpose of a new library or new books for the College.

The will provided the necessary funds to build a new study space on campus. In April 2006, the College was once again considering funding for procedures related to the building of a new library, this time the Stetson-Sawyer project a project we see coming to fruition today. 

-Thobo Mogojwe ’15

April 26, 2006 –

The College announced that it was seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification (LEED) certification for the Stetson-Sawyer project. The College declared that it had designed all buildings to meet LEED certification standards, but that spending money on the certification process was unnecessary. Students objected to the decision, contending that LEED certification would lead to more press coverage of the College’s commitment to environmental initiatives and would also ensure that no corners were cut (“Stetson-Sawyer green certification considered,” April 26, 2006).

 April 26, 1994 –

The current room draw system, in which pick groups are assigned a lottery number that corresponds to the order in which they pick rooms, debuted in April 1994. Student opinion about the system was much the same as it is now. Although students were pleased with the efficiency  of the room draw (it had previously taken place over a period of two weeks), those with higher pick numbers were unhappy with the lack of choices they were given. The writer of the Record article commented, “One student was heard to remark in passing, ‘This is worse than those Cabbage Patch dolls,’ presumably referring to the toy store mayhem that resulted from a shortage of the chubby creatures of dubious appeal in 1983” (“New housing draw system makes debut,” April 26, 1994).

 April 26, 1977 –

The Office of Career Counseling reported that graduates of the College were continuing to be successful in securing employment post-graduation despite the tight job market. According to a career trends survey conducted at that time, a high percentage of graduates were found to be going on to professional postgraduate study. Employment rates were reported to be high as well, but no numbers were given (“Grads do well in job market,” April 26, 1977).

 April 21, 1954 –

The entire College faculty and 372 students registered support in two spontaneously written statements for Professor of Religion John Hutchinson, who was accused of being a Communist. Three ex-Communists testified against him before the House Un-American Activities Committee that Hutchinson had been involved in pro-Red activity. Hutchinson’s case went to the Justice Department, though, at the time of publication, the Attorney General had yet to take action. President James Phinney Baxter III extolled Hutchinson for his fine character (“Professors lend Hutchinson’s stand complete support,” April 21, 1954).

April 21, 1948 –

A group of then-Record editors announced the impending formation of The Williams Record Association. The alumni-undergraduate group was set to be created “to improve and expand the Record with the assistance of alumni editorial and business management advice and to increase alumni contact with campus affairs” (“‘Record’ editors organize WRA,” April 21, 1948).

April 28, 1925

In a lecture held in Jessup Hall sponsored by the Williams Christian Association, Professor Herdman Cleland of the Geology Department defended the theory of evolution. The lecture, titled “Fundamentalism at the Bar,” was given in response to a Christian fundamentalist book published by Philip Mauro called “Evolution at the Bar.” In his lecture, Professor Cleland “characterized the struggle between Evolution and Fundamentalism as an age-old issue between intolerance and tolerance, ignorance and intelligence” (“Evolution is upheld by Prof. H. F. Cleland,” April 28, 1925).

 April 24, 1913The third will of Miss Elizabeth Patterson was discovered. The will bequeathed an amount of $130,000 to the College. The bequest was stated to be for the purchase of new books or the construction of a new library. Conveniently, the discovery came at a time when there was a pressing need for a new central library (“Will Williams Get a Library?,” April 24, 1913).


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