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Doggett Memorial President's Home (RG 136)

This image displays Springfield College's Doggett Memorial presidential home. The front yard and walkway up to the door can be seen along with several bushes and trees.

Laurence L. Doggett Memorial President’s Home

Laurence L. Doggett Memorial, the President’s residence and Springfield College’s own White House, was completed on September 1, 1958. The two-story, 10-room, colonial-style home was located on the lake side of Alden Street, east of the Field House. The $55,000 project was designed to serve the needs of the college as well as the needs of the current president and his family. The building was named after Dr. Laurence Locke Doggett, a former president at Springfield College. The house was the family home to Olds, Locklin, and Falcone during their presidencies.

Doggett was Springfield’s first full-time president. He was elected in 1896 and remained president for 40 years until he retired in 1936. During his tenure the college grew tremendously, from the time it was a training school with 50 students and eight teachers until it had an enrollment of 535 students and 50 faculty members. Through the institution’s connection with the Young Men’s Christian Association, Doggett became a world leader of the YMCA. Doggett passed away on November 14, 1957 at the age of 92. His imprint on Springfield College and the community was that of a builder. He was universally respected and widely loved, and for that his life serves as an admirable monument shown through the building and dedication of Doggett Memorial.

The cornerstone laying ceremony was held on Saturday, June 14, 1958 at 2 pm. Sealed within the cornerstone was a metal box full of memorabilia of Dr. Doggett’s long career. The ceremony was led by Mrs. Laurence Doggett, widow of the successful former president. Commencement ceremonies were held the following day, June 15, 1958 at 2:30 pm in the Memorial Field House. On Wednesday, September 30, 1959 a formal Service of Dedication of the Laurence L. Doggett Memorial was held. The highlight of the dedication was a speech by Mrs. Doggett titled, “The Life He Shared.” Doggett Memorial was first occupied by the family of Dr. Glenn A. Olds who took over the presidency of the college on July 1, 1958. Wesley F. Rennke was the interim president who came out of retirement in the fall of 1957 following the resignation of Dr. Donald Stone.

During the 1990’s Doggett Memorial was no longer used as the president’s house, but was instead used as the college’s Admissions Office. The Board of Trustees believed that Springfield College was the type of institution in which the president ought to live on campus, as was true when Doggett Memorial was originally built. This would provide a living space for President Flynn and his family and future presidents, as well as additional space for presidential meetings and entertainment. Despite the fact that the Admissions Office moved to the space that was vacated by Social Work located on Middlesex Avenue, Doggett Memorial began showing its age. The prospective costs of renovating the building were not in the College’s favor. Instead, in March 2002 Doggett Memorial was demolished to make way for construction of a new President’s residence.

The new house was a beauty. A large portion of the inside was given over to public space, which included a dining room for entertaining, two reception rooms for larger gatherings, and a bedroom suite for special guests of the College. On April 1, 2003, President Richard B. Flynn and his wife Jani Flynn moved from their home in East Longmeadow into the new President’s House. The public space is used today to host annual ice cream socials for new students as well as receptions for graduating students. It is also used for faculty senate dinners, Board of Trustee events, a variety of alumni activities, student leader receptions, and many other events.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection documents the Doggett Memorial President’s House. Included in the collection are copies of floor plans, funding and planning materials, various materials from the laying of the cornerstone and dedication ceremonies, and exterior pictures from the time the house was built till right before its destruction. These include some photos of the time that the building was used as the Admission center for Springfield College. Of particular note are the funding and planning documents which include the original meeting minutes from the planning committee, information on donors, including letters of intent, and general correspondence. Materials from the cornerstone and dedication ceremonies include newspaper articles, some pictures, programs and some correspondence.