Cumnock Hall was built in 1974 as classroom and office space during the tenure of Dean Lawrence E. Fouraker. The modern, three-story, brick structure was designed by Earl Flansburgh & Associates and originally housed five flexible classrooms, HBS Health Services, squash courts, and a lounge. In 1989, the courts were removed, and Cumnock was renovated to create the Senior Faculty Center, which provides well-appointed offices and support services for HBS emeriti professors. Ditman Lounge is a distinctive feature of the facility’s third floor. The common room is gracefully furnished with art and other items from the estate of Grace Cumnock Ditman, whose generous bequest funded the building’s construction.
Cumnock Hall is named in honor of Mrs. Ditman’s father, Alexander Goodlet Cumnock (1839-1919), and her brother, Arthur J. Cumnock (1868-1930), an 1891 graduate of Harvard College. Ditman had served as a director of the venerable textile firm of Appleton Manufacturing Company, which was established in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1828 and acquired by the Cumnock family in 1898. The business relocated to South Carolina in the 1920s and, in 1950, merged with the J.P. Stevens & Company of New York, one of the nation’s largest fabric producers.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Alexander Cumnock came to the United States with his family in 1846 and began his career in the textile industry as a young man. By the turn of the century, he was a well-known figure in New England fabric manufacturing and founder of the Lowell Textile School—the first school in Massachusetts where the theory and technique of textile manufacturing was taught. He acquired the Appleton mill with a group of family and friends and headed the company until his death, when his son Arthur took over management of the business. Grace Cumnock Ditman died in 1969 at the age of 93.
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