After student outcry regarding rumors that the Temple of Zeus café would be renamed, Cornell said on Friday that the Klarman Hall nook will not be renamed and that Temple of Zeus will become its official title.
There were rumors that the eatery was to be renamed after oil magnate and member of the Cornell Arts and Sciences Advisory Council James F. Adelson ’85 made a sizable donation to the café.
Upon seeing the resistance among students, Arts and Sciences Dean Gretchen Ritter ’83 said she decided to talk to the family, though she declined to comment on the family’s identity.
“When the family who funded the building of the café made a contribution, they never asked for the café to be named,” she said. “They were offered the opportunity because of their generosity.”
“I have spoken with the family and they want to be clear that they strongly respect and honor tradition and that they wish for the café to be officially named the Temple of Zeus,” she added.
Founded in 1964 through the efforts of students, faculty and staff, the café has been an important meeting place for Cornellians.
“The students were demanding a place to meet with faculty that was neutral territory, so the college came up with this place,” said Henry Crans, director of facilities for A&S, in a 2012 Cornell Chronicle article on the origins of the eatery.
After students heard of the potential name change, a petition to “Keep Zeus Zeus!” was launched and received over 650 signatures.
“Temple of Zeus doesn’t belong to any one person, and has always been defined by the communal spirit it allows student workers, non-student workers, student, faculty and staff patrons and visitors to Cornell to share,” said Ara Hagopian ’18, who is also a columnist for The Sun.
Many opponents to the name change believed a change would symbolize an end to the communal and equal atmosphere the café provides, including Temple of Zeus worker Susie Plotkin ’18, who authored the Change.org petition.
“It’s a café for A&S, so if it’s named after a donor, whoever the donor may be, it strips away the egalitarian atmosphere that it offers us,” she said, “It doesn’t belong to one person, it belongs to everyone.”
Hearing student concerns, the administration acknowledged the café’s “long history as a central meeting place for faculty and students,” Ritter said and ultimately decided to officially name the café the Temple of Zeus.