Renovated Beau Hall renamed to honor Walter Cooper ’50, Ph.D.
W&J’s Beau Hall, a student residence hall previously named for the street on which it is located, and one of the campus homes for first-year students, has undergone a $1 million renovation – and a name change to honor the work and life of distinguished alumnus Walter Cooper ’50, Ph.D.
The College celebrated the name change with a private dedication ceremony, residence hall tour, and reception on October 2, 2020. Dr. Cooper, 92, along with family members and several close friends from his long-time home in Rochester, N.Y., traveled to Washington, Pa., for the special occasion.
“I just want to say that my life was shaped, my life was enriched, and my life led to dedication of other human beings based upon my early experience at Washington & Jefferson College,” Dr. Cooper shared with the audience at the dedication ceremony. “This is an honor that I will cherish forever, and I will pass it on to my children and hopefully my grandchildren, and generations of Coopers afterward.”
The newly renovated dorm’s entry hall and common area pay particular tribute to Dr. Cooper and his life’s work, as well as to his contributions as a student at W&J and, later, as a member of the College’s board of trustees. On the wall facing the entrance, a portrait of Dr. Cooper, painted for the dedication, is paired with the following quote, reminding students about how to treat one another:
“I think you live a life trying to understand other human beings. Whenever I see an individual, firstly I see their humanity. Because of that fact, there is certain dignity and respect that I will always accord them because they are human beings.” (from a 2014 article on Dr. Cooper in the March/April issue of POST in Rochester)
Said W&J President John C. Knapp, Ph.D., about the design updates in the common area of Cooper Hall: “This is the principal location where new students come to know each other and make friends. And now, from this point on, it will also be the place where they come to know Walter Cooper.”