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Read about the many histories Columbia has and the events that have shaped it.
In 1905, Hartley Hall, one of the first undergraduate residences, opened along with Livingston Hall, now known as Wallach Hall. Named after Marcellus Hartley Dodge, a well-known philanthropist, Hartley Hall was constructed “in the interest of true democracy.”
Constructed in tandem with Hartley, Livingston Hall, later renovated and renamed after Ira D. Wallach, was designed to fulfill President Butler’s vision of bridging the gap between rich and poor students.
Opened in 1929, John Jay Hall served to fulfill President Butler’s vision of expanding and enhancing University life, particularly that of the College, but differed from his vision for Hartley and Livingston.
Opened as South Hall in 1934, Butler Library celebrates the legacy of Nicholas Murray Butler, 12th and longest-reigning president of the University. Just as the Library is central to Columbia, Butler, too, was central to the University and its growth during his presidency.
Opened in 1999, Alfred Lerner Hall is Columbia’s newest student center. With a 1,500-seat Roone Arledge Auditorium, a smaller black box theater, and offices for 90 student clubs, the building is home to—and carries on the legacy of—long-standing student organizations and traditions, particularly in the arts.
Built in 1913, Furnald Hall celebrates the life of Royal B. Furnald, CC class of 1901, who died during his spring semester of sophomore year. By the will of Francis Furnald, Royal’s father, Columbia College received $300,000 to erect a dormitory in the student’s name.
Completed in 1897, Low Library remained the main library of Columbia until 1934 when South Hall, then name of Butler Library, was constructed. Named after Abiel Abbot Low, father of the 11th President of Columbia Seth Low, the Library and its Plaza witnessed various major developments of Columbia.