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New Dorm Named Ashdown House

The name of Ashdown House has been passed on to the new graduate dormitory that was previously referred to as NW35. Several of the new building’s rooms will be named for rooms in W1, or the current Ashdown House. In addition, the Thirsty Ear pub, which is now located in the current Ashdown’s basement, will move into the new Ashdown.

The announcement was made by President Susan Hockfield at last Wednesday’s groundbreaking for the new dormitory after the MIT Corporation voted to approve the name. Members of the graduate student community had hoped to bring Ashdown’s name to the new dormitory. In late October, Karen A. Nilsson, Associate Dean and Director of Housing, said that she, along with Ashdown’s housemasters, Ann and Terry P. Orlando, and a number of graduate students had decided upon the change, but were hoping to hold the announcement for the groundbreaking. Groundbreaking is the “first official exciting step when doing a new building,” Nilsson said, explaining the postponement.

The name of the Hulsizer Room and Crafts Lounge will move to the new grad dormitory and a music room will take the name of popular past housemasters, Beth and the late Vernon M. Ingram.

Members of the audience applauded upon hearing Hockfield announce the dormitory’s new name. Several other people spoke at the ceremony, including Sian A. Kleindienst G, chair of the Ashdown House Executive Committee, Chancellor Phillip L. Clay, and Dean of Graduate Student Isaac M. Colbert. In his speech, Graduate Student Council President Eric G. Weese G said that “If MIT were to preserve and strengthen the system of shared governance that we enjoy here, this would help to ensure that future projects turn out just as well.”

At the reception following the groundbreaking, students could be seen wearing shirts that said “Ashdown House — The Tradition Continues.”

Terry Orlando said that both he and Ann are thrilled with the new dormitory. Their living space will be somewhat larger, he said, because they will need room to accommodate more students for their housemaster dinners, since there will be more residents living in the new dormitory. There will be space for 550 occupants in the new Ashdown, compared to the 360 beds available in the current Ashdown.

Nilsson said that a Web site will soon be set up for the new Ashdown.