Reunions: Records, reminiscences, renewal

With a record 1,617 alumni and guests on hand, Reunion Weekend 2007 represented a historic moment of transformation for the Hamilton campus, with three events that both change the face of the College and help mark its historic legacy.

After months of renovation and expansion, the former Sigma Phi fraternity house was dedicated in honor of Chet Siuda '70 and his wife, Joy, as the Siuda House, new home of the Office of Admission and Financial Aid.

The Annex was formally dedicated and named the Tolles Pavilion in honor of Winton Tolles '28 and his wife, Patricia. U.S. Rep. Michael Arcuri and Utica businessman Eugene Romano '49 were among the speakers.

Ground was broken at the site of the Kirner-Johnson Building expansion, where officials were joined by Estelle Wilhelm, who has pledged $1 million toward the work. The mezzanine of the renovated building will be named in honor or her husband, Curtis Wilhelm '40, and a classroom will bear her name.

Chet Siuda, a Hamilton trustee since 1987, chaired the trustee committee on admission from 1994 to 2001. The Siudas' commitment to admissions also includes the creation of an endowed scholarship to "create possibilities for students who otherwise couldn't attend Hamilton." The Office of Admission and Financial Aid moved last month from its offices in the Elihu Root House on College Hill Road into the Siuda House on Campus Road.

The Tolles Pavilion, located behind The Little Pub on campus and connected to Beinecke Village, was built in 2000 and is home to a broad range of activities, from luncheons and workshops to concerts and dances. The facility is equipped with dressing rooms as well as a data projector and 16-foot screen for movies and multimedia presentations. It is particularly fitting that this space be named in honor of a former dean and mentor, who served as a trusted counselor to countless students, and his wife, who is remembered for her devotion to the College.

The Kirner-Johnson Building was dedicated in 1968 as the centerpiece of Kirkland College and is home to Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center, the Nesbitt-Johnston Writing Center and the Oral Communications Center as well as the social sciences departments. Following the groundbreaking, President Joan Hinde Stewart presided over the dedication of the Kirkand College archives, embodiment of the Kirkland legacy at Hamilton. She was joined by former Kirkland President Sam Babbitt and Kirkland alumnae Penny Watras Dana K'78 and Susan Skerritt K'77.
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