By now, everyone on campus must be aware of the newly named Jeffords Center for Science and Mathematics. The new building was renamed for Sen. Jim Jeffords at the start of this semester for what some beleive was a show of appreciation for securing a $2 million grant for the school. Previously, the building was named after Florence A. Black, a former Castleton professor, dean of students, dean emertia, two-time interim president and director of alumni.
All right, so the higher ups here at CSC decided to remove Black’s name from the building and replace it with Jeffords’ after the construction to the auditorium was complete.
Some members of the CSC student body and alums have shown disapproval for the renaming of the new building, however those who are advocates for Jeffords’ name being attached to it would make the argument that he is just as deserving as Black ever was. I mean that has to be the argument right? If he wasn’t as deserving, his name wouldn’t be there, right? By now, I’m sure you’re wondering the same thing I am: who really deserves it more?
Well, let’s break this whole thing down head-to-head style, to try and figure it out.
Student Appreciation, who do the students side with:
You’ve got to go with Black here, right? I mean, not only are current students who never even knew her disappointed with the change, but alums are speaking out against the re-dedication as well. I mean, we’ve got sweet old ladies calling the re-naming, “a stinkin’ thing to do!” Those are harsh words from people who really knew Black.
As for Jeffords, I’m almost positive half of the student body isn’t even sure of his first name, or which party the former senator belongs to.
This category goes to Black.
Contributions, which person did more:
This is a tough one, but it comes down to one thing – the school is a business. Without money there would be no buildings, teachers, dorms — hell even no Huden. While Black was apparently an outstanding dean, I don’t think the school would be all that different had she not come around. I know certain professors credit her with really creating the geology department, but let’s face it, there would have been a geology department anyway, and we are after all a pretty diverse college.
Background With The School, and Community
This is also a tight one, but considering that Black was a former professor, dean, two-time president and eventual director of alumni, you’ve got to determine that she had more involvement with the school than Jeffords. However, he is from Rutland County and has been a supporter of Castleton and higher education in Vermont. Because he was a senator, it would be infinitely harder for him to focus all of his time on one school, so it’s really not his fault that he couldn’t be as involved as maybe he would have like to.
Winner, by a landslide: Black.
The slogan of our school is “small college with a big heart.” Well which individual’s name would further help that heart to thrive? Jeffords has helped bring the school into the future, facilitating more buildings and more students – two things that can take away from the closeness of our school. With Black’s name on the side of that building it will be consistent with the school’s message. We will be displaying our respect for history, we would be showing that our set of values influence us more than our wallets, and that we care just as much about those who have walked our campus in the past than those who will walk upon it in the future.
So who’s really more deserving? Well, this writer would have to say that Black wins by a nose. Sure Jeffords’ has made immeasurable contributions to this school, but we all know that. Not everyone knows what Florence A. Black contributed to this school, and as years pass, fewer and fewer students will wonder who she was and what she did. So I ask you, a final question: What is going to evoke a greater curiosity and a greater desire to ask “Who was this woman?” An entire building being named after her, or a plaque in a hallway, seen only by those with time enough pause for a moment and read it?