Rendering of the new Davis Center complex
Rendering by Leers Weinzapfel Associates

This summer the college will begin work to expand and renovate the buildings that make up the Davis Center, an inclusive hub of activity supporting historically underrepresented communities within the larger Williams family. Designed with extensive input from the nearly two dozen student groups that call Rice House, Jenness House and Hardy House home, the project will expand the complex’s footprint by about 8,000 square feet, with an eye toward creating inclusive, sustainable and accessible spaces that take into account the campus and region’s history. Construction is expected to be complete in early 2024. The project is part of the larger Davis Center Initiative, which seeks to support and sustain both the physical spaces as well as expanded programming that, as the center’s mission states, “advances broad campus engagement with complex issues of identity, history and cultures as they affect intellectual, creative and social life.”

A few planned changes:

  • A living room named in honor of Ray Whiteman ’81, thanks to his generous gift to support future generations of historically underrepresented students, will provide space for students to relax, study and socialize.
  • The charred wood exterior in the Japanese tradition of “shou-sugi-ban” will use natural wood siding, an intentional connection to Williamstown’s White Oaks neighborhood that was once a haven for Black residents in the community. The wood is sustainable, eco-friendly and Forest Stewardship Council certified, which means it meets the highest standards in terms of ethical production.
  • Elevator access will now be available from the building’s entrances on Morley Circle and Bank Street.
  • A multipurpose room, with movable partitions, will allow flexible space to accommodate gatherings of any size for lectures, film screenings, discussions, gospel choir performances and student meetings of all kinds.
  • A spacious, well-equipped kitchen will allow students to prepare and host meals, bringing a taste of home to Williams.

To learn more and support this initiative, visit