Seigles provide major commitment for social sciences/law building

Seigle Hall to be dedicated in fall 2008

A $10 million commitment has been made to Washington University by alumnus and philanthropist Harry Seigle and his wife, Susan, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. It is the lead gift for the building currently under construction on the western end of the Danforth Campus that will serve academic functions for the three social science departments in Arts & Sciences and for the School of Law.

The Boston-based architectural firm Kallmann McKinnell & Wood designed the Collegiate Gothic facility. It will occupy 145,736 square feet and contain 14 classrooms, the most of any Danforth Campus building.

Harry and Susan Seigle visited campus last month and surveyed the progress of the building that will bear their names.

When it opens for the fall 2008 semester, it will be known as Harry and Susan Seigle Hall. The name is significant, for it represents the first academic building on the Danforth Campus to be named for an alumnus living outside of St. Louis.

“When considered alone, Harry and Susan Seigle’s commitment for our new building is a significant contribution to the future of this University,” Wrighton said. “When considered as the most recent of a series of major gifts to this institution, it is an extraordinary show of support. We are incredibly fortunate to receive their generous gifts.”

Wrighton is referring to the large number of gifts supporting programs, scholarships, facilities and, in 2005, a professorship in Arts & Sciences that have been given over the years by the Seigles.

“Most important, Susan and Harry are exemplary citizens of Washington University, and their dedication takes many forms,” Wrighton said.

The Seigles find the time to attend and support numerous University events. Harry Seigle has served in several official capacities, including as a member of the Board of Trustees, a member of the Arts & Sciences National Council and a founding chair of the Chicago Regional Cabinet.

Both Edward S. Macias, Ph.D., and Kent D. Syverud, J.D., deans of Arts & Sciences and of Law, respectively, are delighted at the prospect of increased collaboration among the departments of Economics, Political Science and Education and the School of Law. Both stressed the importance of creating a physical space to foster new kinds of interaction required by interdisciplinary scholarship.

“Today, the social sciences are poised at the threshold of a new era of dynamic growth and discovery,” said Macias, executive vice chancellor and the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences. “This building will allow, for the first time, faculty and students to have state-of-the-art facilities located near their collaborators in law and business.”

“The interdisciplinary space is both beautiful and strategically important,” said Syverud, also the Ethan A.H. Shepley University Professor in the School of Law. “Harry and Susan Seigle Hall will wonderfully cement our strong ties here between the law school and the social sciences.”

For Harry Seigle, who has had a lifelong interest in political science and law, the connection with this building was natural. Exceptional generosity toward civic, educational and cultural institutions also comes naturally, especially for his alma mater.

His emotional ties here must have influenced the two sons who also claim Washington University’s Arts & Sciences as their alma mater: Joe graduated in 2005, and Max in 2000. Harry’s brother Michael also is an alumnus.

The range of gifts over the years demonstrates Harry Seigle’s true commitment to enhancing many areas of academic and residential life. In addition to Seigle Hall, there is Seigle Commons in the Village, the Seigle Family Scholarships in Arts & Sciences and the Seigle Family Professorship, recently given to Ping Wang, Ph.D., who also chairs the Department of Economics in Arts & Sciences. Wang and his colleagues will occupy Seigle Hall’s third floor.

Seigle earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University in 1968. After earning a law degree from Northwestern University, he practiced law until joining the family lumber business in 1974. At that time it was known as the Elgin Lumber Co. but later renamed Seigle’s Building Centers Inc. Under his direction as chair and president, the firm flourished, growing into the largest building material supplier to Chicago-area homebuilders.

After Seigle’s company was sold in 2005, he established The Elgin Co., a private real-estate acquisition and investment firm for which he serves as principal.

Seigle Hall is being constructed by St. Louis-based Tarlton Corp. Continuing the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability, Seigle Hall will be designed as a green structure, thus eligible for LEED certification.

LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a nationally accepted rating system for the design, construction and operation of buildings that use methods for achieving environmental sustainability. All WUSTL buildings being constructed currently and in the future will be built according to LEED specifications.