Maxfield Hall: Part 1, 2021

I had some time last week to walk over and take a look at the newly renovated Mech Lab, now called Maxfield Hall in honor of Katherine and Bob Maxfield ’63, whose generous gift made the work possible. I was frankly trepidatious, as anything can happen with projects like this, but I have to say that I think this is a huge success. The architects, Bellows Construction, and our own crew at FE&P have done a remarkable job of maintaining the original character of the building while modernizing and vastly improving it as working space.

It still feels like Mech Lab, especially in the bigger public spaces. (Note the new elevator peeking out at right, which makes the whole building accessible to everyone):

But the office space looks dramatically fresher and brighter:

The transformation of the basement is especially impressive. You definitely know you’re in a basement but wow, this is way better:

And the two exterior stairways added on the back are spectacular, which is not something I thought I’d ever say about a staircase:

All in all, I really like it. My heart feels light and I’m declaring victory.

There are a couple of little tidbits that deserve a separate post so I’ll get that up tomorrow.

Bonus:  Here’s Bob Maxfield among the Phi Beta Kappa initiates in the fall of 1962. I’m pretty sure he’s the one in the front row at far right.


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6 Responses to Maxfield Hall: Part 1, 2021

  1. Owlcop says:

    Now Humanities needs a name.

  2. almadenmike says:

    The Thresher listed these 10 Fall 1962 PBK initiates as being:

    Myra Shultz Bahme, a history major from Houston;
    Mary Fae Coulter, an English major from San Antonio;
    Dillard Wayne Faries a Kerrville physics major;
    Diana Joan Frosch, a French major from Houston;
    James Edwin Jones, a Wichita Falls physics major;
    Robert Roy Maxfield, also of Wichita Falls, electrical engineering;
    Kathleen Much, a French major from Houston;
    Paul Bruce Pipes, Jr, a physics major from Fort Worth;
    Martin David Tilson III, a philosophy major from Texarkana, and
    Mark Howard Vaughn of San Benito, a physics major.


  3. George Webb says:

    Historically Phi Beta Kappa has excluded engineering majors. Did Bob Maxfield have a second major besides EE?

    • almadenmike says:

      Their respective Wikipedia pages say that Phi Beta Kappa eliminate engineering majors from eligibility in 1885 … and Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, was founded the same year.

      The Thresher did tout that five of the 10 Fall 1962 PBKs were academs, and five were S-E’s.

      But the 1963 Commencement Program shows that Maxfield received a Bachelor of Arts degree, not a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (as Ken Oshman did, BTW).


      • Francis Cloudman says:

        In those days Engineers had to go through 5 years . After the 5th year they received their BS degree

    • almadenmike says:

      On the PBK website, there does not seem to be a specific prohibition to engineering majors.

      Programs of study other than the traditional disciplines of the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and humanities “may be included only if they unambiguously embody the liberal arts and sciences.”

      – – –
      Stipulation 1.

      Eligible students shall be candidates for a bachelor’s degree. The student’s record shall include coursework in the liberal arts and sciences equivalent to at least three-quarters of the credits ordinarily required for a bachelor’s degree in these fields (e.g., not less than 90 semester hours of work if 120 hours are normally required for such a degree). The liberal arts and sciences encompass the traditional disciplines of the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and humanities. Select courses in other programs of study may be included only if they unambiguously embody the liberal arts and sciences.

      Because Phi Beta Kappa honors excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, applied or pre-professional coursework shall not be considered in determining eligibility. This stipulation excludes professionally focused courses and courses devoted to the acquisition of practical skills.
      – – – –

      BTW, Stipulation 4 states that a PBK “candidate’s undergraduate record shall include at least one course in college-level mathematics, logic, or statistics, with content appropriate to a liberal arts and sciences curriculum. The course should introduce the student to mathematical ideas, abstract thinking, proofs, and the axiomatic method.”


      I see quite a few mentions of PBK engineers on their website.

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