The Building Project


The Building Project

The Davis Center traces its roots to the spring of 1988, when the student-led Coalition Against Racist Education (CARE) took over Jenness House, the temporary home of the Dean of the College. Among students’ demands was a multicultural center, which opened a year later in the building students had occupied. In time the center expanded into Rice and Hardy houses, and, in 2012, the complex was renamed the Davis Center in honor of W. Allison Davis ’24 and John A. Davis ’33.

The physical spaces haven’t changed much over the years; in fact, they require significant renovation and refurbishing. Yet the Davis Center remains a busy, inclusive hub of activity supporting many different communities within the larger Williams family.

The new Davis Center will offer students a modern space to feel safe and be comfortable—a place to connect with DC staff and Community Engagement Fellows, cook a group meal, watch a movie, or plan for and host campus awareness campaigns, lectures, conversations, film series, and more. Built for current and future needs, the Davis Center buildings will nurture education, activism, community building, well-being and celebration.

We will bring students, faculty, and staff together in a dedicated space that symbolizes the college’s commitment to and progress toward a fully inclusive community.

“Without the DC I do not think that a lot of students of color would succeed. It's about that physical space, knowing you can go somewhere that is made with you in mind, and it's about accessing resources that you might not get at other points on campus.”

—Shiara Pyrrhus '23, Mellon-Mays Fellow and co-president of Sisterhood

Learn about the Davis Center Design Process

Watch Project Manager Scott Henderson's presentation about the Davis Center project process in this presentation from Claiming Williams on February 3, 2022.

Architects' renderings, April 2021. Note: The design of the new Davis Center continues to evolve; some of the details in these videos may have changed.