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Ten years ago a new House reared its proud white tower to the Cambridge sky. An architect would have called the House finished. The last red brick has been firmly laid in its mortary bed, the final touch of cream-colored paint has been added to the topmost dormer frame. yes, after fifteen months of feverish work Lowell House was undeniably finished.
Ten years have passed, and Lowell House has been under construction ever since. Not the kind of construction that requires cement and brick and glass and paint. Not the kind that requires the architect's blueprint. No new wings have been added, no new stories have been built. But Lowell House has become more than a mere dormitory; it has become an institution with its own tradition, its own spirit, its own way of living.
That tradition is emblazoned in the House Coat of Arms, rung out once a month by fifteen tons of Russian bells hung in the vane-topped tower, observed once a week at the ceremonial High Table. That spirit lives in every one of the 292 members who inhabit the maze of rooms. That way of life, shared by all members, is cemented by a constant round of communal activity--the Christmas play, the seasonal dances, the year-round sports competition. After ten years of incessant building, the House is infinitely more than a place to eat, sleep, and study.
All these additions too have had an architect. An architect who entered the House and began his work when the last carpenter had left. An architect with a fast, springy walk, a vigorous swing in his left arm, a romping puppy at his heels. An architect who knew mathematics as few men do, and had revealed its mysteries to thirty years of wondering classes. That too, was ten years ago. Today "Sandy," the romping puppy, is gone. If you looked closely, you might see that just a little of the spring in the step, just a little of the swing in the arm have gone with him. You would have to look very closely. No one noticed it when the Master-architect gave his cheery Easter handshake to every House member this spring.
Tonight, the bell-laden tower will bask its brightest in the brilliant floodlights. Tonight, the tuxedo-flanked High Table will be host to one of its greatest gatherings of College Presidents, Deans, and Faculty. Tonight is one of the last for the retiring Master-builder who has presided over so many in his ten years of rule. His portrait donated by members of the House will be presented to the College and will hung in the House he has done so much to build. Paintings already are there that cover a greater space on the walls. But none will have a greater place in the hearts of the Bellboys than that of Julian Lowell Coolidge.
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