Center for Development Economics – Past and Present

We have new digs for our 55th: the Center for Development Economics. That’s great for us; we’re much closer now to the center of the action (Tyler would have been a bit of a hike).

Most of us will recognize the iconic structure known in our time as the Cluett Center, which housed the burgeoning Center for Development Economics, although a smaller group will identify the building as belonging to the Delta Psi fraternity, known more commonly as Saint Anthony Hall. After a significant restoration effort, the building was renamed the Center for Development Economics (CDE). Fellows Hall, a residential hall, was later constructed behind the CDE, and has become available for alumni lodgings during the 2023 reunion.

Both the building and the fraternity that it housed between 1853 and 1970 share an intriguing history.

The fraternity, with chapters at Princeton, Yale, Columbia enjoyed (or enjoys, see below), a prestigious reputation, not unlike Porcellian, the premier Harvard finals club ¬†founded in 1791, and is also known for its appetite for secrecy, perhaps akin to Yale’s Skull and Bones (which has generously provided us with two presidents named Bush).

Note however that a 2020 Williams Record article offers evidence that the Delta Psi fraternity is by no means extinct, that it continues to extend its secretive ways up to the present day.

Originally designed in 1885 by Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White the building attempted to emulate the old “English style.” It survived two fires, one in 1926, the other in 1927 (seeing a spectacular collapse of the dining room ceiling) each time requiring considerable reconstruction.

The national fraternal organization fought tooth and nail not to be absorbed by Williams College, delaying negotiations until 1965, and requiring that the building never be used as a residential house, with final agreements only being signed in 1972.

The Center for Development Economics boasts a network of 1,300 graduates from 110 nations around the world, with the first class graduating in 1961, when the Center was located in the actual Cluett house. Following the 1962 decision to ban fraternities at Williams, the program was moved to its current location, and has grown and prospered ever since, both architecturally and academically.

The following images show how the former architecture and style of St. Anthony All have been blended in with more modern styles to suit the needs of an academic center:

CDE showing restoration from original St Anthony Hall
Saint Anthony Hall/Cluett Center l
Current CDE living room
Current CDE Classroom

Here are some views of Fellows Hall:

Fellows Hall
Fellows Hall

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