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Carleton Honors Ardis and Robert James and Cathy James Paglia ’74 by Renaming Memorial Hall

September 17, 2012

Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall will be renamed Ardis and Robert James Hall in October. (photo by Marlena Hartman-Filson '13)

Memorial Hall, one of two full-scale student residential facilities that opened at Carleton College in 2009, is being renamed Ardis and Robert James Hall in recognition of the financial commitment made to Carleton by the James family, including Board of Trustees member Cathy James Paglia ’74.

The new name honors Cathy Paglia’s parents, Ardis and Robert James, who have a long history of generously supporting a number of nonprofits and educational institutions through their family foundation, the Robert and Ardis James Foundation. Among their most prominent philanthropic activities, in addition to Carleton, is their leadership in establishing Quilt House, which is the home of the International Quilt Studies Center and Museum in Lincoln, Neb.  The Center was founded in 1997 when Ardis and Robert, who are native Nebraskans, donated their collection of more than 950 quilts to the University of Nebraska. Ardis passed away in July 2011, while Robert resides in Stamford, Conn.

Cathy Paglia has served on Carleton’s Board of Trustees since 1984, including leadership roles on several board committees.  She also was a member of the steering committee for the College’s successful $300 million “Breaking Barriers, Creating Connections” fundraising campaign, completed in 2010.

Memorial Hall and Cassat Hall, which both opened in 2009, were the first dorms built on Carleton’s campus since Watson Hall in 1967. Cassat Hall is named in recognition of George L. Cassat ’46 and the late Patricia Donnell Cassat ’46, whose gifts supported the construction of both residential facilities. When their original gift was made to Carleton, George Cassat offered to relinquish the name Memorial Hall to another donor who is committed to providing a leadership gift to Carleton. 

“What we’re doing today is celebrating philanthropy and the understanding by some of the College’s dearest friends of the centrality of the residential aspect of a great liberal arts education,” Carleton President Steven G. Poskanzer said. “Both the James and Cassat families have been incredibly generous to Carleton.

“Cathy Paglia is among our most loyal supporters and wise and forward-looking effective leaders on our Board. We are deeply appreciative of her many outstanding contributions to the College,” Poskanzer added.

In addition to the unrestricted gifts the James Family made to the “Breaking Barriers Creating Connections” campaign, Robert and Ardis have also supported Carleton’s parents fund for nearly 30 years, both with their own giving and through gifts made via the James Family Foundation. Additionally, Robert and Ardis contributed to the Robert A. Oden Jr. Postdoctoral Fellowships in 2011.

 A ceremony officially changing the name of the 39,376-square foot building to James Hall will take place during the Board of Trustees’ on-campus meeting, October 25-27. The residence hall houses 92 students in 21 suites, contains four full kitchens, one on each floor, and includes 38 bike-storage slots in the basement. Both James Hall and Cassat Hall are LEED gold certified and were created to provide a good balance between private space and areas where students can come together for dining, studying, and socializing. Carleton supports a robust residential life program and community that lies at the core of the College’s liberal arts experience.

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