On Dec. 31, Adam Falk stepped down from his presidency after serving an eight-year tenure at the helm of the College’s administration. The College will remember his contributions by naming two establishments in his honor: the Falk Science Quad and the Adam Falk Directorship of the Center for Learning in Action (CLiA).
The College has a longstanding policy of naming campus spaces and institutions after outgoing presidents as a gesture of gratitude for their contributions; Schapiro Hall, for example, was named to honor the departure of Morton Owen Schapiro from the presidency in 2008.
The Board of Trustees, which chooses these names, aims to bring attention to the specific initiatives and values that the outgoing president represented and vouched for during their tenure. This time, the Board chose the Science Quad and the directorship of CLiA to draw attention to Falk’s commitment to science education and community involvement.
“The naming of the new Falk Science Quad recognizes President Falk’s lifelong commitment to science, as well the very significant work he led to create new science facilities where our faculty and students will be able to do their best and most advanced work,” Chair of the Board of Trustees Michael Eisenson ’77 said. Before becoming President of the College, Falk was a physicist specializing in elementary particle physics and quantum field theory. During his tenure, he oversaw the planning and construction of the new Science Center, the first building of which is set to open this summer.
“When the new Science Center is finished, it will be a home for one of the most remarkable science programs at any liberal arts college in the country, and President Falk was very much at the heart of this effort,” Eisenson said.
CLiA, which seeks to promote community engagement and experiential learning opportunities, is another institution that Falk lent particular support to during his time as president. “The named directorship is a tribute to President Falk’s critical support for the founding of the Center as a way both to enable our students to contribute to the wellbeing of our local community and region and to provide significant educational opportunities,” Eisenson said.
Director of CLiA Paula Consolini also expressed her deep appreciation for Falk’s support of the Center. “I’m thrilled that the College has chosen the naming of the Center’s directorship as the way to commemorate Adam’s visionary advocacy of experiential learning and civic engagement,” she said. “The naming signals widespread support for the Center’s work, which helps raise awareness and support.”
The two namings represent the College’s final farewell and thank you to Falk as it welcomes Interim President Tiku Majumder and continues the presidential search process. Falk himself expressed his gratitude toward the Board and the College community, as well as his hopes that the initiatives he vouched for can continue to be supported in his absence.
“At their hearts, both the Science Quad and CLiA nurture and support community. The Science Quad is a gathering space for students and faculty, while CLiA connects students to the local, national and global worlds outside of Williams,” he said. “For me, the most important and rewarding work I did as president was to build community, and I’ll be very happy if, as a consequence of these generous gestures, that’s how I’ll be remembered here.”
Falk became president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York this January but will remain, at least in spirit, a member of the College community. “I’ll always love Williams and feel a part of this place, and so it’s very special to me to be honored in this way,” he said. “Many spaces and institutions at the College carry the names of those who came before, and I think it’s a valuable thing to be reminded of our history as we go about our lives.”