Announcing the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach House

Campaign Gift Advances Campus Renewal at the Institute
Susan S. Wallach '68, JD '71, Kenneth L. Wallach '68, JD '72, and Dean Lizabeth Cohen. Photo by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe InstituteSusan S. Wallach '68, JD '71, Kenneth L. Wallach '68, JD '72, and Dean Lizabeth Cohen. Photo by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute
December 18, 2017

In recognition of a $10 million commitment to support campus renewal, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study has established the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach House. Formerly Buckingham House, the building is now the dedicated home for Academic Ventures, one of the Institute’s three core programs, which brings together scholars from across Harvard and around the world to break new intellectual ground in all disciplines.

Located at 77 Brattle Street and recently renovated, Wallach House sits along the southwestern edge of Radcliffe Yard. Fittingly, it overlooks the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Garden, home to public art installations selected through Radcliffe’s University-wide student public art competition, where 100+ Years at 73 Brattle by John Wang ’16 currently welcomes visitors. The building has been a part of Radcliffe since 1911 and has served a variety of purposes, from graduate dormitory and classroom to center for research programs and undergraduate admissions. In 1943, it was named for Harriet Dean Buckingham, a secretary of Radcliffe College who resided there during the early 20th century.  

“I am thrilled that we are able to rename this historic building in honor of two longtime champions of the Radcliffe Institute,” said Dean Lizabeth Cohen, speaking of Susan S. Wallach ’68, JD ’71 and Kenneth L. Wallach ’68, JD ’72. “Susan and Ken have been instrumental in the success of the Institute since its founding. It is gratifying to recognize their generosity prominently on our campus. Their gift will significantly boost our ability to engage ever growing numbers of students, scholars, and the broad public in the latest thinking on a myriad of subjects. Wallach House will become the hub of exciting program planning for conferences, lectures, exhibitions, seminars, and workshops, many of them featuring innovative cross-field collaborations.”

The Wallachs’ commitment to the Radcliffe Institute reaches well beyond Wallach House and the Wallach Garden. A graduate of both Radcliffe College and Harvard Law School, Susan remained deeply involved with her alma maters, eventually joining the final Radcliffe Board of Trustees and helping to negotiate the merger that united Radcliffe and Harvard. With the founding of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 1999, both Susan and Ken were excited by the opportunity to help forge a brand new Harvard school within the centuries-old University environment. Since then, they have remained stalwart advocates and volunteers. Susan serves as chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council and cochair of The Radcliffe Campaign, and both Wallachs are motivated by the chance to inspire others to support the Institute. Susan also served as a Harvard Overseer from 2005 to 2011 and received the Harvard Medal in 2012.

As part of The Radcliffe Campaign, which has received more than 22,000 gifts and continues until June 30, 2018, donors are supporting the renewal of the Institute’s campus, with the goal of making its physical spaces more suitable for its diverse programmatic offerings. The Wallachs’ contribution advances this effort, which includes major renovations of the Knafel Center—the Institute’s main public event venue—and the flagship building of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America. With these changes, the Institute will be better positioned to accommodate its frequent full-capacity crowds for public events and will be able to provide more faculty with the opportunity to participate in cross-disciplinary seminars and workshops. Upgrades to the Schlesinger Library at the Institute will enhance its popular exhibition space and create technologically advanced classrooms where students can engage with its unique collections.

When campus renewal became a priority for Radcliffe, the Wallachs were among the first to recognize its importance. “If you’re interested in the future of an organization, you have to worry about the physical plant,” says Ken. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to help restore the Radcliffe campus and infrastructure, increase its functionality, and make it a leading academic center for the 21st century.” Susan adds: “We know that a gift to campus renewal is a gift to the artists, scholars, students, and public intellectuals who value Radcliffe as a haven for deep research and thinking. With state-of-the-art facilities, the Institute can better reach its growing audience and expand key programs that foster new ideas in our world.”

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