The history of gymnastics at Springfield College stretches nearly as far back as the school’s founding in 1885. Leslie Judd, widely considered a father of modern gymnastics, was the team’s first coach. Dr. James Naismith, the creator of basketball, was an early member of the team. On May 25, 1912 excavation for Springfield College’s new library, Marsh Memorial, began. The cornerstone was laid by President Laurence Locke Doggett on Commencement day of 1912 (June 12th) and construction began on September 1, 1912. The new building was dedicated on October 18, 1913 with William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States, serving as the featured speaker. The library was named Marsh Memorial after the late Edward Williams Marsh of Bridgeport, Connecticut who gave $40,600 of the $80,000 required for the erection of the library. He died just before its completion. The new library was of Gothic design, with red brick with brownstone and terra cotta trimmings laid in red cement. It was approximately 72 feet front by 117 feet deep, and consisted of two stories as well as a basement. Marsh Memorial served as the College’s library until the opening of Babson Library in 1971. After Babson Library was opened, Marsh Memorial was renovated for other uses. A chapel was developed in the large room in Marsh which already contained stained glass windows. Marsh is still used for religious purposes today, offering regular worship services for members of the college. Other offices the building houses are the President’s office, the Office of Academic Affairs, and the Department of Public Safety.
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