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McWethy Hall new home for visual arts

  Campus News  

McWethy Hall was dedicated at a homecoming ceremony that recognized Jim McWethy '65 and his family, who pledged more than $2 million toward the project to turn the former gymnasium into the new home for the art department.

McWethy Hall was hailed at a homecoming dedication as a step forward for Cornell's visual arts program, thanks especially to alumni leadership.

Jim McWethy '65

"Sixty-four years ago when Armstrong Hall was dedicated, Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton were in attendance. Grant Wood gave a speech in which he said the Cornell art department is the most progressive in the state," noted art department chair Tony Plaut '78. "He might say the same thing again if he could visit us today in McWethy Hall."

McWethy Hall was built in 1909 and used for 44 years as Cornell's gymnasium. The original building was a gift of the alumni of the college, in part to honor the college at its 50th anniversary. Alumni again provided the leadership for the renovation, which added teaching studios, a darkroom, and classroom space on the former gymnasium floor level; the Peter Paul Luce Gallery in the former dance studio; and an annex housing a kiln room and foundry.

Trustee Jim McWethy '65 and his family contributed the primary gift of more than $2 million, given in honor of his maternal grandparents. Mary Bowman Seidler '61 chaired the $16.3 million fine arts campaign, the largest single capital campaign in Cornell's history. The Kimmel Theatre addition to Armstrong and the renovation of Armstrong for the theatre and music departments will complete the fine arts project next fall.

Memorial fund grows

When President George Bush appointed Bill Taylor '61 president of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 1991, it capped a distinguished career in public service for Taylor, who worked 26 years for the Board of Gov-ernors of the Federal Reserve System and made extraordinary contributions to the development of banking standards around the world.

After Taylor's death in 1992, the Federal Reserve established the William Taylor Memorial Fund and a banking lecture series, which featured as the 2002 speaker Taylor's friend and fellow Delt John Urheim '62.

One intent of the memorial fund was to help finance the education of Taylor's three children. However, as Urheim told the lecture audience-including former Federal Reserve chair Paul Volcker-the children have completed graduate degrees without the assistance of the fund. Now the fund has been transferred to Cornell as part of the William Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund, which helps support students majoring in economics and business, and to support the Delta Phi Rho Centennial Endowment Fund. Of the $100,000 coming to Cornell, $80,000 will go to the scholarship fund and $20,000 will support the Delta Phi Rho lectureship endowment.

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