For generations of American School members, Loring Hall is the heart of the School —the place where the community of students and scholars gathers for meals, tea, informal lectures (“Tea Talks”) and traditional holidays.
Loring Hall Then…For Women Only
First discussions about the construction of a women’s hostel began in the early 1910s. A committee of university women headed by Miss M. Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College, had undertaken a campaign to raise funds for a women’s hostel, with the consent of the School Trustees and in the name of the School. Until then female students of the School lived in private residencies or at Prince George’s Palace on Akademias Street. The Hostel Committee collected enough funds to purchase the land for the new residence hall.
After several delays, the project took off under the mighty leadership of Edward Capps, Chairman of the School’s Managing Committee (1918-1939), who incorporated its construction expenses in a capital campaign that the School launched in the 1920s. Capps found a staunch supporter in the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Judge William Caleb Loring.
The building was designed and built by W. Stuart Thompson, a former fellow of the School, and architect of the Gennadeion. Students’ rooms were first occupied by women in the course of the fall of 1929. The cost, including the landscaping of the grounds, had exceeded by only eight hundred dollars Thompson’s original estimate of $200,000. One-third of the cost of the building was covered by subscription and two-thirds by the International Education Board. The Trustees of the School voted to name the new building the William Caleb Loring Hall.
During WW II, the buildings of the American School were protected by the American Legation in Athens. The Gennadeion and Loring Hall remained sealed. The West House of Loring Hall was occupied by the Swiss Commission of the Red Cross, while the Swedish Commission occupied the School’s Main Building across the street. In their honor, the part of Spefsippou street in front of the American School was re-named “Souidias.”
And Now…At Age 80, the Aging Grande Dame Needs a Facelift
Loring Hall is now used to capacity all year round to house the members (of both sexes) from the Regular Program and the Summer Sessions as well as visiting scholars and other fellows of the School. The residential facilities have become increasingly inadequate with age and the growth of the School’s community. Students squeeze into every available room on campus, abiding minimal space, inadequate bathroom facilities, and uncomfortable climates in order to pursue their academic work. Visiting faculty and scholars are often required to live in apartments outside the School for lack of space on campus.
To restore this hub of the ASCSA campus, the School is launching a campaign to redress these limitations through several high-priority capital projects, including a full renovation of the Hall and the addition of a third story to the Loring Hall wing, affectionately called “the Annex.” The estimated costs of the renovations and a maintenance endowment are $4,450,000. Donors will have many opportunities to name rooms and facilities in recognition of their gifts to this project, starting at $25,000 to name a bedroom. For naming and commemorative opportunities or to discuss a gift for Loring Hall, please contact Mary Emerson or Minna Lee at the Princeton office.