It was a celebration delayed, but it would not be a celebration denied. On October 8, the Williston Northampton School community, joined by members of the Board of Trustees, gathered to dedicate Emily McFadon Vincent House and Wold House, thus completing the $20 million Residential Quadrangle project. “We’ve been waiting a year for this moment, a truly momentous one in Williston Northampton School’s long history since 1841,” said Robert W. Hill III, Head of School. “The Residential Quad, where we are standing today, has transformed our campus, bringing us literally and symbolically closer together.”
The Quad—a verdant 80,000-square-foot landscaped commons surrounded by three state-of-the-art, sustainably designed dormitories—has been a centerpiece of the school’s strategic plan since its approval by the trustees in 2017. The area’s first dormitory, built in 2008, was initially known only by its address, 194 Main Street. That changed moments after Hill’s introduction, when former school Trustee Peter Wold ’67 and his wife, Marla, released a banner revealing the building’s new name: Wold House. The dedication recognized the Wold family’s deep connection to and generous support for Williston. Also taking part were their son, Joe Wold ’06, and Joe’s wife, Chelsey Cutting Wold ’07, who met at Williston and were married at the chapel.
In his remarks, Peter Wold recalled arriving on campus in the fall of 1964, having driven for three days with his parents from their home in Casper, Wyoming, where he lives today. “They dropped me off in front of the chapel and said, ‘This school will provide you with many opportunities. Work hard. Take advantage of them,’” he said. “Over the years my appreciation for experience and the education I received here at Williston has grown.”
Added his son Joe, accompanied by Chelsey and their two young children, “Williston truly holds a
special place in our hearts. From the first time I stepped foot on the Williston campus, the faculty and staff made me feel right at home.”
Just across the grassy commons from Wold House sits the Emily McFadon Vincent House, or EMV, as it has become known, which welcomed its first 40 female students in the fall of 2020. (Between the two is John Hazen White House, the boys’ dormitory, named for the current Board Chair, which opened in 2018.) The pandemic had prevented an in-person celebration of the opening of EMV, so Hill reminded the assembled students and guests about its namesake, the first alumna to have a building named in her honor.
A 1949 graduate of Northampton School for Girls, McFadon Vincent traveled alone by train from her home in Tacoma, Washington, to come to Massachusetts for her senior year of high school. Her appreciation of travel only grew, and as an adult, she ended up visiting Australia, Scotland, Africa, and the Middle East, “a wanderlust that inspired her to launch a business in the travel industry,” Hill said. In the years since, McFadon Vincent, who now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, has provided the school with funds for professional development, instructorships, and scholarships.
Her generosity, like that of the Wolds, offered a lesson, he noted. “Schools are built by those who come before you, and you should never forget that debt of gratitude we owe them.”