When Swartz Hall, Harvard Divinity School’s main campus building, opened in 1911, it was called Andover Hall, and had a graduating class of 27.
For more than a century, the building remained largely unchanged even as the School evolved beyond its origins as a residential seminary for Protestant ministers. Today, over 100 students graduate from the School each year, and the student body represents approximately 30 religious traditions and denominations, as well as some of no faith tradition.
So when Swartz Hall finally reopened its doors this semester, it welcomed members of the HDS and Harvard communities separated since the start of the pandemic to a renewed building, one that reflects a changed (and changing) Divinity School.
Beginning in May 2019, the building closed for a total renewal thanks to a gift from artist and philanthropist Susan Shallcross Swartz and her husband, investor James R. Swartz ’64, as well as other generous donors. The project was completed in time for students to return in late August 2021, and what they found when they stepped inside included modernized classrooms, numerous spaces for impromptu collaborations, and a new, inclusive, multifaith space.