September 27, 2019

Although construction work on Swartz Hall has been underway since the end of May, an intimate, celebratory groundbreaking ceremony was held earlier this month to commemorate the start of the building’s renewal.

I wanted to share some pictures of this month’s groundbreaking with you and let everyone know that a community-wide celebration is being planned for when the project is finished and Swartz Hall is ready to open.

Speaking during the ceremony were Dean David Hempton, donor Susan Shallcross Swartz, Harvard President Larry Bacow, project architect Philip Chen, and Gloria White-Hammond, Swartz Resident Practitioner in Ministry Studies.

I couldn’t agree more with Dean Hempton when he thanked Susan and her husband James R. Swartz for their generosity and devotion to HDS, and when he called the renewal a “giant step forward for the School and its mission.”

Something Dean Hempton also said struck me as particularly illustrative of the purpose of this project.

“The renewal of Swartz Hall will enable HDS to take the next step toward its aspiration of serving students from every part of the country and from all around the world,” he said. “Its modernized and expanded facilities will enable us to achieve our mission in ways that we’ve never been able to accomplish before. Swartz Hall’s newly envisioned teaching, research, community, and worship spaces will enable scholars and practitioners of all religions to be full participants in the HDS community for the first time in our history.”

There is still a lot of work to be done on this project, but I am as excited as ever for January 2021 and what it will mean for the HDS students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community at large.

Swartz Hall groundbreaking

Swartz Hall groundbreaking

Jim and Susan Swartz and Larry and Adele Fleet Bacow

Site work. Window protection work is ongoing and crews will continue to dewater and excavate the courtyard in preparation for the building addition. Daily deliveries and dumpster swaps are ongoing. All activities are subject to change based on weather or other circumstances.

—Ralph