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When the College first opened in 1970, the buildings on campus had utilitarian names such as "House I", "Academic Building I", "Science Building" and so on. That year, the Trustees decided to name some of the existing buildings for people connected with the founding of the College. Thus, the library was named after Harold F. Johnson, chairman of the Board of Trustees, who gave the initial $6 million to start the College. House II was named for Toby Dakin, also one of the original trustees, who conceived the college motto, "Non Satis Scire". Merrill, Blair Hall and Cole Science Center were also named for early trustees and benefactors. And Franklin Patterson Hall was named after the first president of the college, author of The Making of a College.
In 1972-73, a Trustee committee was formed with student representation to select names for the remaining buildings. The committee put a notice in Climax, the student newspaper, asking for suggestions, and received quite a response. At one point, the committee considered naming not only the Houses, but the individual mods, and suggestions ranged from towns in Hampshire County (with the historical "Cold Spring" substituted for "Belchertown"), to names of public and cultural figures such as Warhol, Fellini, and Malcolm X. Some community members suggested names from Greek and Roman mythology, or the planets, or names of various utopias: Utopia, Republic, Paradise, Lothlorien, Shangri-La. Other suggestions were names of local mountains (Norwottuck, Nonotuck, Pisgah) or local brooks and lakes (Lake Aldrich, Elmer Brook). One trustee recommended "the vivid names of local apples": Astrakin, Baldwin, Crow's Egg, Mackintosh, Russett, and my favorite--how would you have liked to live in "Northern Spy"?
Finally, in September 1973 the Trustees announced their decisions. Emily Dickinson Hall "...recognizes the most notable person to have spent a lifetime in this neighborhood," and "Greenwich, Enfield and Prescott are proposed to rescue from oblivion the names of the three towns in Hampshire County extinguished about forty years ago by the development of Quabbin Reservoir." In the years since then, new buildings have been named for people connected with the College. Longsworth Arts Village, and Adele Simmons Hall were named for the College's second and third Presidents; and the Robert Crown Center was named after the donor who gave the money to build it. The Gregory S. Prince, Jr. and Toni B. Prince Cultural Village was named in 2005, and in 2007 ground was broken for the Liebling Center for Film, Photography and Video, named for Jerome Liebling, eminent photographer and long-time Hampshire faculty member. Let's see... any suggestions for the children's center or the Multisport?