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Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010 5:34 p.m.

Knapp, alumni gather for West Hall dedication

University officails gathered Saturday to dedicated GW's newest residence, West Hall. Qiongning Yang | Hatchet Reporter

This report was written by Hatchet reporter Sarah Ferris

GW’s newest residential hall was dedicated Saturday during a ceremony empathizing the history of West Hall and the Mount Vernon Campus.

University President Steven Knapp called the West Hall dedication part of “an effort to preserve the heritage of Mount Vernon College,” and noted that the new building’s lobby is actually built with bricks from the original Pelham Hall.

The building was formerly known as Pelham Hall, and was named in honor of Peter Pelham, the former president of the Mount Vernon College for Women, the previous occupant of the Mount Vernon Campus before GW purchased it in 1999.

Cissy Baker – an alumna of the Mount Vernon College for Women and member of GW’s Board of Trustees – lived in the original Pelham Hall.

She spoke at the dedication ceremony, and recalled an instance when she and several friends drove back late to campus one night. They were met with an angry President Peter Pelham in his boxers, threatening to expel them for their noisy behavior.

Laughing, Baker said he changed his mind in the morning, but asked them to “please stop blowing the horn in front of the house.”

Baker, a Fox News contributor and one of the founders of CNN, said her late mother had also lived in the old Pelham Hall when she attended the college, and that both Pelham and her mother would be proud of the West Hall if they could see it today.

“GW promised to maintain a connection with the history of Mount Vernon College, and it has definitely done so,” Baker said.

The University preserved Peter Pelham’s legacy by naming the student-life portion of the residence hall the Pelham Commons.

Knapp dubbed Pelham Commons “the new gem in the crown of GW,” and said he was excited to see how GW students would incorporate the student life center in their experience at the University.