The tower of Harry and Susan Seigle Hall overlooks Anheuser-Busch Hall to the north and Simon Hall to the south, creating a new, awe-inspiring view of the western edge of Washington University in St. Louis’ Danforth Campus. Its presence transforms the great lawn, completing a quadrangle that includes Olin Library, Graham Chapel and the Danforth University Center and puts Seigle Hall in the hub of life and learning on campus.
Seigle Hall’s dedication — which will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, on the building’s east side and feature a speech by Nobel Prize winner Douglass C. North, Ph.D., the Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts & Sciences — will mark a significant milestone in ongoing efforts to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary work between the social sciences and the School of Law.
The building — named for alumnus and philanthropist Harry Seigle and his wife, Susan — provides bright, light-filled teaching, office and meeting spaces for the law school and the departments of Economics, Education and Political Science, all in Arts & Sciences. Seigle Hall completes the University’s largest quadrangle, and with its high ceilings, tall windows and built-in wooden seats, the building features inviting venues for collaboration.
“Harry and Susan Seigle Hall will strengthen Washington University’s law school and social sciences by drawing together students and faculty from across disciplines,” said Chancellor Mark. S. Wrighton. “This new building on the Danforth Campus will foster a collaborative environment and encourage exciting new education, research and scholarship.”
Seigle Hall is the first academic building on the Danforth Campus to be named for an alumnus living outside of St. Louis. Harry Seigle, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from WUSTL in 1968, and Susan Seigle reside in Chicago.
“Harry and Susan Seigle’s commitment to this new building is an extraordinary contribution to the future of Washington University,” Wrighton said. “The Seigles’ gift is significant, but by no means is their generosity limited to the support of Seigle Hall. Washington University is incredibly fortunate to have their friendship.”
The Seigles’ dedication to the university and higher education is apparent with their gifts supporting programs, scholarships and facilities at WUSTL. In 2005, the Seigles endowed a professorship in Arts & Sciences.
The Seigles are equally as generous with their time. Harry Seigle has served in several capacities at WUSTL, including as a member of the Board of Trustees, a member of the Arts & Sciences National Council and the founding chair of the Chicago Regional Cabinet.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from WUSTL and a law degree from Northwestern University, Harry Seigle practiced law until joining the family lumber business in 1974. At that time, it was known as the Elgin Lumber Co. but later was 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.
Other leadership contributors to the building are Thomas R. and Karole Green; Lawrence P. and Ann Klamon; Myrna and Mark Mason; Steven N. Rappaport and Judith A. Garson; Ronald M. and Karen Rettner; Anne T. and John C. Shapleigh; and Carolynn Finegold Wolff and Stephen Irwin Wolff. In addition, Rappaport and Thomas R. Green served the University as campaign co-chairs for the law school’s fund-raising effort. Lawrence P. Klamon was campaign chair for Arts & Sciences’ fund-raising effort.
The four-story, 145,736-square-foot Seigle Hall contains 15 classrooms — the most of any Danforth Campus building — four seminar rooms and 139 offices for faculty, staff and graduate students. It also features three faculty lounges, six occasional meeting spaces, three spacious conference rooms overlooking Francis Field, and a large lobby on each of its four levels.
Besides the economics, education and political science departments, Seigle Hall also will house the Center for Applied Statistics; Center for Dynamic Economics; Center for Empirical Research in the Law; Center for Interdisciplinary Studies; Center for New Institutional Social Sciences; Center in Political Economy; Center on Urban Research and Public Policy; Murray Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy; and Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute.
Faculty and staff began to move in June 30. Kent D. Syverud, J.D., dean of the law school, and Ralph S. Quatrano, Ph.D., interim dean of Arts & Sciences, can’t wait to see the results of the collaboration that will result from the closer quarters.
“We are very excited about the interdisciplinary opportunities in law and the social sciences that the beautiful space in Harry and Susan Seigle Hall will afford,” said Syverud, also the Ethan A.H. Shepley University Professor. “The building provides a wonderful atmosphere for collaboration in both research and teaching.”
“Harry and Susan Seigle Hall will provide the faculty and students of Arts & Sciences a long-sought opportunity to interact in a first-rate teaching and research facility,” said Quatrano, past chair of the Department of Biology and the Spencer T. Olin Professor.
“For the departments of economics, education and political science, and for such intellectual clusters as the Weidenbaum Center and Applied Statistics, the impact of this building for Arts & Sciences is transformative. As we implement our strategic plans, which call for greater interdisciplinary interactions across departments and schools, Seigle Hall offers great promise in enabling such connections and interaction.”
Harry Seigle’s connection to the building was a natural one, given his lifelong fascination with political science and law and passion for civic, educational and cultural institutions — especially his alma mater. Harry’s brother Michael also is an alumnus. Harry and Susan Seigle have three sons: Joe (LA ’05), Max (LA ’00) and Ben.
The Seigles’ gifts over the years demonstrate their true commitment to enhancing academic and residential life at the university for both students and faculty. In addition to Seigle Hall, there is Seigle Commons in the Village, the Seigle Family Scholarships in Arts & Sciences and the Seigle Family Professorship, given to Ping Wang, Ph.D., in the Department of Economics, which occupies Seigle Hall’s third floor.
North, the Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts & Sciences in the Department of Economics, professor of history in Arts & Sciences and fellow in WUSTL’s Center in Political Economy, was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 1993. He also is the founder of the Center for New Institutional Social Sciences.
North, a Bartlett Burnap Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, has held visiting chairs at Cambridge and Rice universities and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has served as president of the Economic History Association and the Western Economic Association, and his major interest is the evolution of economic and political institutions.
Seigle Hall was designed by Boston-based architectural firm Kallman McKinnell & Wood, which also designed the university’s Danforth Campus’ Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center, Simon Hall, Goldfarb Hall and McDonnell Hall.
Seigle Hall was constructed by St. Louis-based Tarlton Corp. and will be LEED-certified, which is consistent with the university’s commitment to sustainability.