October 17, 2005

Court Hall Gets New Names for 'A' Wing, Lobby

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Bauer Hall – formerly the “A” section of Court Hall – became the first of the new North Campus residences to be renamed to fund the West Campus Residential Initiative (WCRI) in a dedication ceremony Friday morning. The lobby of the wings that are for now still known as Court Hall was named for a top Cornell administrator in a separate dedication Friday afternoon. Both namings were the result of alumni gifts to the WCRI.

Bauer Hall is named for alumni donors Robert J. Bauer ’40 and Virginia Poole Bauer ’42. The Court Hall lobby was named after Susan H. Murphy ’74, vice president of student and academic services. The donors, Penny Haitkin ’65 and Kenneth L. Nagin ’74, asked that the lobby be named after Murphy in honor of her work on the Residential Initiative.

The names of Court and Mews Halls on North Campus are temporary and reflect geographical descriptions: Court is named for its courtyard, and a mews is a street lined with residential buildings. The University has already paid for the North Campus Residential Initiative (NCRI), largely with student dorm fees. However, since the West Campus Houses are being named after eminent Cornell professors, donations from the namings of North Campus buildings will be used to fund the rest of the WCRI.

In 2002, Appel Commons was the first North Campus building to be renamed due to a major alumni donation to fund the WCRI.

At receptions following Friday’s ceremonies, donors and administrators alike said they hope that the dedication of Bauer Hall will act as a catalyst for other big alumni donations to rename North Campus buildings.

Mr. Bauer expressed his enthusiasm for the Residential Initiative and his hope that his donation would motivate others to take advantage of the other naming opportunities on North Campus.

“Somebody’s always waiting for someone to start the action,” he said.

Murphy expressed a similar sentiment, saying that administrators “hope other alumni will come forward at an approximate level [to that of the Bauers’ donation].”

Numerous Cornell administrators in the Alumni Affairs and Development and Student and Academic Services departments declined to disclose the amount of the Bauer donation, citing a request by the family. The donation for the Murphy lobby was $125,000.

Other naming opportunities exist on both North and West Campus for everything from the Appel Commons dining hall – $2 million – to study rooms in Court-Bauer and Mews Halls – $50,000 each.

In remarks at the reception, Mr. Bauer said that the naming of Bauer Hall was “a very unexpected honor.”

“[Mrs. Bauer and I] made more money than we should have,” he said, and eventually arrived at “the realization that we had extra money.”

He expressed a desire to do good for future generations of freshmen on North Campus.

The Bauers have a history of philanthropy at Cornell. The couple donated a scholarship trust that has allowed more than 100 recipients to attend the College of Engineering since 1998. In 2001, the Bauers were prominent donors in the construction of the college’s Duffield Hall, and a laboratory quadrant there was named after the couple.

The 13th hole on Cornell’s Trent Jones Golf Course is also named after the Bauers, Interim President Hunter R. Rawlings III said at the reception.

“I really do think about [the Bauers] as I arrive [at the Bauer hole] struggling to make a double bogey,” he said.

Mr. Bauer studied electrical engineering in the College of Engineering, while Mrs. Bauer was a math major in the College of Arts and Sciences. Mr. Bauer went on to go into business as an electrical installations contractor, and is still active at the office according to Malve Slocum Burns Ph.D ’71, an Individual Giving Officer in the Principal Gifts Department.

Mr. Bauer, however, said that, “the extra money really comes from bank stock.”

He said that he became a member of the board of directors of a bank his father started in the 1920s and bought a lot of stock in the company, which ended up giving him the ability to give back to the University where, in 1938, he met his wife.

Dustin Howell ’09, the Bauers’ grandson, lives in Mews Hall.

“I’m very proud,” he said. It’s an honor to be [right over] there and [Bauer Hall] is here.”

Court and Bauer Halls’ faculty-in-residence, Prof. Henry Richardson ’67, architecture, said that, “Bauer’s new identity brings the two parts of the buildings together and gives the skybridge more significance.”

At the Murphy dedication, numerous speakers lauded Murphy’s achievements on behalf of students, including former student trustee Katie Dealy ’00. In an interview with The Sun, she said that Murphy “brings people together.”

President Emeritus Frank H. T. Rhodes, who attended the Murphy dedication, said that Murphy was instrumental in the execution of the Residential Initiative. “It’s a great vision, which is Hunter’s,” Rhodes said, “but making it work, that’s something else.”

Haitkin said that Murphy was “out there [at the construction sites] every day with a hard hat,” during the Residential Initiative.

The Bauer dedication and reception featured a jazz quartet, chocolate covered strawberries, and “Bauer Bits o’ Bliss” ice cream provided by Cornell Dairy. The Cornell Pep Band played at the Murphy dedication.

At the Murphy dedication, munching on caramel popcorn in the buffet line, William Bonificio ’09, a resident of Court Hall said, “I think it’s great that everyone’s invited, unlike the [Bauer dedication] earlier.

Archived article by David Wittenberg
Sun Contributor