With a large crowed of trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and many friends watching, ground was broken for construction of the Watson dorm, Williamson’s first new dorm since 1912 on Friday morning.
The dorm is named after Wayne C. Watson 4W8, long-serving chairman of the Board of Trustees and construction is being made possible through a major gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
The ceremony opened with welcoming remarks from President Michael Rounds who said, “We are all here today to celebrate a very important milestone in the history of Williamson College of the Trades — the construction of a badly needed dormitory.
“The addition of a new building is always a momentous occasion at any school because of the great cost involved and because of the usefulness of a new building. And that is especially the case at Williamson.”
William Bonenberger, vice chairman of the Board, said “Wayne Watson is a man who has dedicated a great deal of himself to Williamson. Many years in the future when historians look at the names of great men associated with Williamson, they will think of Isaiah Williamson, John Wanamaker, Henry Rowan, Gerry Lenfest, and Wayne Watson.”
Wayne Watson said, “This event is very special to me. As chairman of the Board of Trustees, I have been privileged to lead, guide, and make decisions with men and women who believe in our mission. I have worked with many presidents and the large Williamson family, consisting of trustees, instructors, staff, alumni, and many friends. It has been a privilege serving alongside so many outstanding and dedicated people. It is also very special to me today to have so many of my family gathered here.
“I can’t thank Bill and Janet Bonenberger enough for putting their company, W.B. Homes, behind this project, for Steve Cava 9W5 to be serving as project manager, and Bob Pritz, who worked 40 years with Mickey Schrenk 4W9, as project superintendent. I also thank Kevin Blackney 7W6 for making the architectural plans.
“I was speechless when trustee John Lawton came to my home and told me the dormitory plans were completed, finances were secure for the construction, alumni would be involved in the construction and project management, and the name was already selected — Watson. What an honor. This is a feeling I can’t describe in words.”
Taking part in the “digging” were Wayne Watson, President Rounds, Bill Bonenberger, Kevin Blackney, Jared Pendleton, senior class president, and Steve Cava.