Saint Martin's Abbey pays tribute by formally naming college's latest building projects
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Lacey, Wash. - Names have been chosen by
Saint Martin’s Abbey for two Saint Martin's College facilities being
added to the campus in coming months, the abbey has announced.
A new college residence hall, planned for
a fall 2005 opening, will bear the name of college President David R.
Spangler, who earlier this month announced his plans to retire next
The college’s dining hall, on which a
large, new addition is nearing completion, will be named St. Gertrude
Dining Hall in memory of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Gertrude
Monastery. The dining hall in the Old Main building has served
generations of students, but has had no formal name until now.
In an announcement Tuesday to the college
community, Saint Martin’s Abbot Neal Roth, O.S.B., said the Saint
Martin¹s Abbey Corporation was pleased to find an appropriate way to
honor both the college’s longest-serving president and the Benedictine
nuns who faithfully served the institution from 1904 to 1954.
“Our decision to call the new residential
building ‘David R. Spangler Hall’ is a modest recognition of Dr.
Spangler¹s many years of service,” he said. “When I called him, I
pointed out that while the other halls are named after previous Saint
Martin’s abbots, the abbots served as presidents of the school at the
same time. Dr. Spangler is not a monk but he might as well be because
he¹s been here so long.”
Spangler, currently in his 20th year as
the college’s president, successfully led the college through difficult
financial times in the mid-1980s and oversaw numerous upgrades and
additions to its programs and facilities, including the O’Grady Library
and Worthington Conference Center. Climbing enrollment under his
presidency, especially in recent years, pressed the need for both the
new residence hall and the dining room addition. The 46,000-square-foot
residence hall, the first being built in 40 years, will have space for
In recalling the many nuns from the
Cottonwood, Idaho, monastery who came to operate the school’s kitchens,
Abbot Neal said they labored hard to feed the students, staff, faculty
and monks of Saint Martin¹s.
“They did it the old, hard way, with
everything bought fresh or brought fresh from the farm then on campus
and prepared from scratch,” he said. “It wasn't fancy, but it was
wholesome. They also brought a lovely feminine spirit with them -- they
were hospitable and very kind.”
His personal memories of the nuns are
many, and include a particular day when he and another young novice were
hard at work washing the dining room’s windows.
“One of the sisters came out with an
entire pie and a pitcher of ice-cold milk from the dairy, insisting we
take a break. It was typical,” he said. “They mothered you, and the
students always appreciated them.”
He said a few of the nuns are still alive
and will be invited to attend a dedication of the dining hall this fall.
The new dining room facility, which includes a renovation completed last
fall and a new addition that will seat 112, is expected to open in time
for the 2004-05 academic year.
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