So, in doing research for a later entry, I was going through the list of facilities on Cornell’s website, and came across an unfamiliar name – King-Shaw Hall. So I decided to check – the facilities website contains buildings that have long ago been torn down, such as Morse Hall.
To my uncomfortable surprise, the ILR Conference Center changed its name way back in October 2012. In my defense, this appears to have happened right around my first week on the job, so my mind was on other things. Secondly, if this was anything like the sudden change they made with the ILR Extension Building becoming Dolgen Hall in 2008, then I can’t be blamed too much, as that one almost flew under the radar while I was a still a student (had it not been for the lettering change outside the building, I would not have known).
According to the ILR press release, the building was renamed for Patricia and Ruben King-Shaw ’83, so two donors but not two separate donors as one might suspect (see Court-Kay-Bauer for an example of the latter). Ruben King-Shaw is the chairman of an equity firm, and according to Forbes, has an extended history serving in executive roles in healthcare administration, both public and private. For better or worse, one of his daughters currently attends Cornell; on the bright side, you can point to the building and say, with pride, it’s named for your family; on the other hand, it means every time you do well on something, or if you’re selected for a secret society, your peers will snidely whisper it’s because of the enormous amount of money your family donated to the university. For the record, although the amount donated is undisclosed, it’s probably something similar or marginally more than the amount donated by John Dolgen, which was described as a “multimillion-dollar gift“.
As to the building itself, The ILR Conference Center was built in 1911 as an expansion of the Vet School. ILR moved in during the late 1940s. As with Dolgen and the ILR Research Building on the south end of the complex, King-Shaw Hall underwent a significant renovation from 2002-2004, but because these buildings were designated landmarks, the exteriors were relatively unaltered. I suppose at this point, it won’t be long before ILR finds a donor for the Research Building, if someone feels the urge to part with some millions for nominal immortality.