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Reclaiming the Grandeur :: Honoring William L. Matheson ’47G

Reclaiming the Grandeur

Reading Room


At the heart of the current Candler Library Renovation and Expansion project is the restoration of the magnificent Reading Room.

In the 1950’s, the two-story Reading Room and the lobby were divided in half horizontally by inserting additional floors. (See 1950's Renovation for a detailed description.) The goal was to provide more space for the expanding collections and programs of Candler Library, Emory's first separate library building.

Now forty-five years later, these added floors have been removed. Restored to its original two-story grandeur, the Reading Room houses Emory's current periodicals collection. An overhead pedestrian bridge will connect the Candler Library Reading Room to Level 3 of the Robert W. Woodruff Library next door.

Honoring William L. Matheson ’47G

Mrs. Marjorie Anderson Matheson of Hobe Sound, Florida, contributed the generous gift of $1.5 million to the Candler Library renovation project in honor of her husband, William L. Matheson ’47G. A Mercer University graduate, Matheson was enrolled as a master’s candidate in history at Emory for the academic year 1946-1947. He left Emory to pursue a law degree at the University of Virginia, then became a corporate lawyer in New York and subsequently chairman of Michigan Gas (later Michigan Energy Resources).

Mrs. Matheson’s husband had already endowed two prizes at Emory College. But she was concerned that, for all his philanthropy, nothing bore Matheson’s name at Emory—an omission she rectified with her gift.

Unfortunately, Matheson died in early December 2002, just as Mrs. Matheson’s gift arrived at the University. Matheson had been a loyal and generous supporter of the University, creating two awards for student achievement in memory of two major figures in his life. The first award is the Archie Drake Prize, named in honor of Matheson’s boyhood friend in Macon, Georgia, who was killed in combat during World War II. It is awarded to an Emory College junior who displays remarkable growth in academic and leadership promise. The second award, the Lucius L. McMullan Award, bestows $20,000 upon a graduating senior of exceptional achievement and merit. Lucius McMullan, a leading figure in Hart County, Georgia, was mentor, sponsor, and uncle of Matheson.

The Reading Room in the Candler Library has been named the William L. Matheson Reading Room in honor of this remarkably devoted and generous alumnus. Emory remains deeply grateful to Mrs. Matheson for this handsome, timely, and fitting gift.


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