Present-day Kenyon is an unruly democracy of different architectures, each with a lesson. Gambier’s personality is vested in the brick and clapboard of properties minding their own business. Homely Olin good-naturedly reminds us that significant donors should not always get their architectural druthers.
The new campus master plan is beggared of this variety. Gund proposes to reshape a hefty portion of campus with the same architectural style designed by the same man. Although we are indebted to Graham Gund ’63 for his generosity, it would be a poor expense of his money if we were to look all about campus and be reminded of him. The time to give your name so extensively to a campus was at its birth, as Lords Kenyon and Gambier did.
Now that Kenyon is nearing its third century, such influence is neither fitting nor proper. The Board of Trustees, if they had to choose between Kenyon’s identity and a swathe of new buildings, should have chosen Kenyon. It is not so much that they took thirty pieces of silver at their October meeting as much as they took thirty wooden nickels.
It is not the case, as Mr. Hoyt stipulated in his letter to the editor this week, that prospective students are turning tail over lack of new dormitories or new facilities befitting them. Most intellectually aware prospectives, I believe, would prefer good financial aid over a new building that they would pay $50,000 a year for the privilege of using. And given Kenyon’s limited financial means, that is often the choice we must make.