John and Cathie Crawford as Drew students in the 1960s.

Room will bear the name of John Crawford, chair of Drew’s Board of Trustees, and wife Cathie.

Thanks to a generous gift from John H. Crawford III T’65 and his wife Cathie (Huntoon) C’64, the largest gathering space in Drew University’s future Ehinger Center will be named Crawford Hall, recognizing a gift of $1 million from the Board of Trustees chair and his family.

Both University President Robert Weisbuch and Crawford feel strongly about Drew’s need for the Ehinger Center (EC) project, a sweeping renovation and expansion of the University Center (UC), which served as a campus hub for dining, meeting and socializing.

“That word ‘center’ really means something,” Weisbuch said.  “This is the place where the entire Drew community comes together, so its nature as a building should imply our social values and our academic interests.  It should energize the campus.”

“As chairman of the board, I felt that I should give to a project that was the most needed and important,” said Crawford. “For me, the EC is that project because it’s at the center of campus life and it influences so many different activities at the university.”

When completed, Crawford Hall will occupy nearly the same footprint as UC 107, a large multipurpose space in the old building.  The new room will feature natural light from several skylights, a bank of doors leading to the Servery for easy dining access and technology features that will make it a preferred venue for conferences, lectures and receptions.  At full capacity, Crawford Hall will be able to accommodate up to 300 people.

Crawford says his support for the renovation is especially meaningful in light of personal history rooted in the old UC.

“It’s where I met my wife,” he said, referring to the day in the early 1960s when he first spoke to Cathie while waiting on the cafeteria line.

According to Weisbuch, the Crawfords’ support for the EC building project represents the couple’s lifelong commitment to the university.

“This great gift from John and Cathie Crawford, who are alumni of Drew’s Theological School and College of Liberal Arts, respectively, represents the ideal of Drew for life, that each student is a member of this community not only during their years on our campus, but as a graduate forever after.”

Looking toward the future, Crawford has high hopes for how the next generation of Drew students will use the room that bears his name.

“What matters most is not the name of the room, but that Drew students have the opportunity to enjoy it and benefit from it,” he said.  “My hope is that something will be going on there at all times.”—Michael Bressman