By Corbin Miller ’71
The Board of Governors recently decided unanimously to name the new wing of the Clubhouse in honor of the Club’s Graduate president, James Q. Griffin ’55. Due to Jim’s humble character there was some convincing required, but he has agreed to accept this honor in recognition of the many years of work that he has contributed to all aspects of Ivy’s management and operations.
As our membership outgrew the capacity of our 1898 Clubhouse following the admission of women as members of Ivy and the University’s subsequent decision to expand the undergraduate body, Jim led the Board through a comprehensive discussion of the alternatives. His proposed vision for a new space seamlessly integrated with and enhanced the beauty and dignity of the original building, while providing flexibility for a variety of uses.
He was able to persuade one of the world’s leading classical architects, Demetri Porphyrios, who had been commissioned to design Whitman College, to take on the project. Having admired Ivy as a Princeton graduate student in architecture, Porphyrios was inspired by Jim’s concept and undertook the job with considerable enthusiasm. With Demetri’s brilliant design in hand, Jim undertook the task of raising the funds necessary to complete the work, and assembled the team of Board members, builders and project managers who would see it through to the end. While the recent economic downturn made fundraising more difficult, it also permitted Jim and the design and construction team to realize significant savings, some of which were used to undertake much needed improvements such as a new roof for the original building.
While Jim has always emphasized the contributions of others, it is clear to everyone on the Board that Jim’s tireless efforts were the sine qua non of the expansion project, and that the new wing beautifully reflects his inspiration. Thanks to him, Ivy’s motto, “To Adorn the Walls of Alma Mater,” has taken on new meaning.