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Searching for Macmillan Hall

When we walk the campus to what used to be the center, we might miss the venerable place. Taller piles of brick and towers obscure the central space of Western Pennsylvania brownstone. Who hasn’t heard the poet moan: “Present concerns shroud the past; Granddad’s principles will not last.” But as we turn the corner at the edge of vast Old Main, we may glimpse a simpler grace in the Ur-construction of Washington College (before Jefferson was spackled on) and on higher ground, raised up from lower down near the center of the town. We’ll see the wings added before the world flew west past our hills to flatter nests. Maybe we’ll hear that vines grew up the extended wings, that J-men felt like ivy kings! Then one will say, “A trustee quipped that vines weaken most things.” Presto, the vines are stripped. Another then will say, “A sage opined that walls are firmer when envined.” A committee will study the case and advise us to coat the face with a super-brick-embracing kind of paint that holds old walls in place. “Save the symbol!” We’ll apply the cure. Is paint sufficient to insure that we will keep our symbol pure? I don’t know, but here’s the plan: sustain Grandad’s dream, if we can; and if we’ve mislaid the liberal arts, let’s find out where they are, Dear Hearts!

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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