Hall Named for Parents (but Maggie Gets Café)
December 15, 2003
Maggie Roberts Murdy nearly became a Lewis & Clark student 60 years ago. Instead she attended Oregon State University and worked for the Presbyterian Church in St. Louis before settling in California. On September 13, Maggie returned to Lewis & Clark to help dedicate the College’s three new apartment-style residence halls. Through Roberts Hall, Maggie and the College honor her parents, the late Rev. Harold Roberts and Gertrude Roberts—and Maggie at last becomes a member of the Lewis & Clark family. Following are excerpts from her address.
I am not an alumna of Lewis & Clark, and perhaps some of you wonder, “What’s the connection?”
In the early 1940s when I was in high school and thinking of college, my father invited me to accompany him to the Presbyterian Synod of Oregon meeting in Portland at the new Lewis & Clark campus. I loved going anywhere with my father and readily accepted.
John Crenshaw-Gardner ’03 (far right) presents Maggie Roberts Murdy and her husband, Dick Lusk, with Lewis & Clark sweatshirts and a stadium blanket at the September 13 dedication of Roberts Hall. President Michael Mooney looks on.
My first impression of the College was its beautiful location. But where was the campus? I remember three buildings—the Manor House, the Gatehouse, and a rather pedestrian building adjacent to the reflecting pool. I also thought the student body would be small, and most of the students would be ministers’ kids. While that wasn’t a total minus, neither was it a big plus. Several other factors kept me to my original plan to go to Corvallis. I know this decision was a major disappointment to my father, but he never said anything.
However, through all these years, Lewis & Clark kept popping up in my mind, either through articles I read, or hearsay, or some alum did something really terrific, or some faculty member was especially brilliant. I kept hearing about it, and then the Agnes Flanagan Chapel was built. Agnes and her husband were friends of my father’s as we all lived in Medford. So I was cognizant of the progress and growth of the College.
As I was seeking to finalize plans to honor my parents, up popped Lewis & Clark again. In July 2001, my husband and I came to the campus. I could not believe my eyes. The number of buildings, the beautiful outdoor artwork, the beauty and expanse of the campus. Wonderful! It was truly amazing to me, and also very pleasing to me. But best of all, they had on the drawing board three proposed residence halls, and I was able to designate one for my purpose.
This whole experience has been one of many delightful surprises and happy moments—for instance, never did I suspect the café would be “Maggie’s,” with my signature in the signage! I must say that of all the locations on a college campus, a place to eat is a most appropriate one to identify with me.
My hope for Roberts Hall is that the students who live there will find serenity and peace to concentrate on their studies, that it will be a convenient and comfortable place to go about the daily tasks of living, that they will find they can have lots of laughs and fun, a certain amount of horseplay—when their studies can be put aside—and that they will remember it as a place where friendships are formed that will last a lifetime. If those things are met, Roberts Hall will fulfill its purpose.
Now a little aside to my dad: “Dad, I finally made it to Lewis & Clark College.”