After nearly a decade of being called simply “the Senior School Library,” one of the Richmond Road campus’s most popular spaces has a new name. At a naming ceremony this week, the School unveiled “The Snowden Library,” in honour of Head of School Bob Snowden and his wife Joan.
Made possible by a major anonymous gift, School House and the Library – which opened in 2007 – was one of the centerpieces of a campus revitalization plan that launched in 2000. The campus plan, dubbed “Create the Future,” was the beginning of a fruitful partnership between Bob and nationally renowned architect Paul Merrick, which resulted in the physical transformation of the Richmond Road campus.
During an emotional and moving ceremony, Bob recognized Paul Merrick’s vision for the campus while also paying tribute to all anonymous gifts responsible for School House, the Library and Schaffter Hall – gifts which helped make the campus plan a reality. “Each Remembrance Day,” Bob said, “I read a letter that R.V. Harvey wrote to the boys of University School when he left to fight in the First World War. In that letter, he says ‘I am sure you will all understand that my reasons for going to the front was not to win honour for myself.’ Our anonymous donors continue this spirit, and we are indebted to them.”
Board of Governors Chair Blair Hagkull praised the contribution made by Bob, calling him “a visionary leader, innovator and exemplary educator, [who has] has shaped the strategic direction of SMUS to its current position as the finest school in Canada and an international leader in education.” He went on to recognize the extraordinary gift that made the library possible: “Just as we are richer as a school community for the dedication and leadership that Bob and Joan have brought to our School, I would like to recognize the foresight and commitment to our School that has been demonstrated by our anonymous benefactor.”
Senior School English department head Terence Young also gave a poignant speech, recognizing Bob’s start as a fellow English teacher and poet, and giving him credit for creating a program that champions literary, music and visual arts. “Not only is the library a beautiful piece of architecture,” he said, “but it also represents the beating heart of the school’s academic curiosity and adventurous spirit.”
Terence also recognized the contribution made by the Barker family, whose donation in the 1960s built the library that served the school for over 40 years. To commemorate the generous spirit of the Barker family, the East Wing was designated the “Barker Wing” when the library opened in 2007.