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Simpson House Honoring W&L's first woman to become a tenured professor at the university.

Pam Simpson

In October, the Board of Trustees, after consultation with students, faculty, staff and alumni, announced that Lee-Jackson House will be renamed Simpson House, occupied by the Office of the Dean of the college.

The Simpson House recognizes Pamela Hemenway Simpson, the first woman to become a tenured professor at the university and the first women to hold an endowed chair, when she became the inaugural Ernest Williams II Professor of Art History in 1993. Simpson, who died in 2011, was also the first woman to serve as associate dean of the college, and she played a critical role in the university’s transition to co-education in the mid-1980s as chair of the Co-Education Steering Committee.

During her 38 years on the faculty at W&L, Simpson made myriad contributions, both in the classroom, where she was described as “the embodiment of W&L’s teacher-scholar,” and in countless other formal and informal positions.

Her scholarly work often centered on local architecture, and in her 2011 Convocation address she drew a parallel between W&L’s architecture and its educational objectives. In narrating the developments that led to the Colonnade and Lee Chapel she said, “What we so value today came together over a period of several hundred years. Each generation built on the past. What resulted was not only a collection of historic, distinguished buildings; we also ended up with a symbol.

“This is who we are. When we think of our most deeply held values – academic excellence, collegiality, civility, and most of all, honor, all of them are embodied here.”

Watch Simpson’s Convocation address at go.wlu.edu/simpsonconvocation2011.