Newcomb Hall is the student activities building at the University of Virginia. Opening in 1958 and named after second UVa president John Lloyd Newcomb, the building houses dining facilities, a ballroom, a theatre, meeting rooms, and other amenities. The building hosts many student organizations, including the Cavalier Daily, the Honor Committee, the University Judicial Committee, and Student Council.[1]

Newcomb Hall has hosted Virginia Glee Club and Virginia Glee Club Alumni and Friends Association activities, including annual dinners, board meetings, and performances.

History[edit | edit source]

For much of its history, the University had no student activities building, relying on the Y.M.C.A.'s facilities at Madison Hall. Under University president Colgate Darden, the University constructed the new building as a Student Union at a cost of $1.8 million dollars.[2] The move was viewed with suspicion by students who felt that Darden sought to curtail fraternity life at the University. Historian Virginius Dabney notes:

Many fraternity men apparently feared that the Student Union would undermine their prestige and their domination of university affairs. However, it was in fact necessary not only for the nonfraternity men, who were without adequate recreational and dining opportunities, but for everybody.

The University Center, revolving about Madison Hall and established around 1940, had been christened the Student Union in 1948, looking toward the ultimate construction of an adequate Student Union building. The union was active in offering various types of cultural and recreational activities, with the indefatigable Mrs. A. E. Walker presiding over all. However, Madison Hall, with its limited size and facilities, could not possibly provide everything that was required by the steadily growing student body.

In 1952 the General Assembly appropriated $400,000 as a sort of down payment on the much-debated Student Union. A total of $2,750,000 finally was made available by the legislature. Fraternity men had been lobbying against it, writing Gov. William M. Tuck and members of the General Assembly that it would be a waste of money. Some contended that the sum would be much better spent for higher faculty salaries or  for a field house. A three-man committee of the Student Council recommended against the project, "since present plans do not provide facilities that would be attractive to students." The building was jeeringly referred to on many occasions as "the ping pong palace." The Virginia Spectator published an editorial evidencing a discovery of horrendous bugaboos under the bed: "We stand on the threshold of `State  U-ism,' that haven of the dungaree doll, the second-rate professor, the pigmy-brained student, and the monolithic `campus,' " said this organ of student opinion. "The title of `Virginia gentleman' will no longer command respect, but will become a rather ludicrous misnomer." Another writer in the Spectator remarked sarcastically: "Thriftily priced at only three million dollars, the structure [the Student Union] will be unobtrusive, and probably not much larger than the combined new dormitories and the Alderman Library."[3] 

Newcomb Hall Ballroom[edit | edit source]

The Newcomb Hall Ballroom has hosted Glee Club concerts and banquets. Concerts held in this space have included:

Newcomb Theatre[edit | edit source]

The Newcomb Theatre has hosted Glee Club concerts, including:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Newcomb Building Map". Newcomb Centers and Services (University of Virginia). https://newcomb.virginia.edu/newcomb-building-map. Retrieved 2018-06-12. 
  2. Dabney, Virginius (1981). Mr. Jefferson's University. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. pp. 392ff. ISBN 081390904X. 
  3. Dabney, pp. 283-284.
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