The Graduate Center Commons building will be known as the "Harkness Commons" in honor of Edward S. Harkness, the Yale graduate who provided most of the money for Harvard's Houses, President Conant announced yesterday.
Harkness, during his lifetime, refused to consent to the naming of a University building after him. But his widow, before her death last June, gave permission for his name to be used.
"The Corporation is pleased to be able, at last, to honor this eminent friend who inspired a great development in student living at Harvard," Conant stated in his announcement.
In addition to the money which Harkness provided for the Houses system, he also helped pay for the construction of Wigglesworth Hall. In all, his gifts to the University totaled more than $13,000,000.
There are already other public buildings named for Harkness, notably the Harkness Tower at Yale and the Harkness Pavilion at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.
The other buildings of the Grad Center, the seven residence halls, have been named after prominent men who were connected with the University either as students or teachers. Five of them are named for a dear and four famous graduates of the Law School, and the other two for philosopher William James and chemist Theodore Richards.
The Graduate Center will be dedicated this Friday.
"The Harkness Commons" houses the dining hall and recreation rooms for the Center. The other seven buildings are dormitories, built in the most economical manner feasible, but with a commons building, the Center will come close to giving graduate students the same kind of social center that undergraduates have in the House.
The Center took two years to build and cost about $3,000,000.