Since the Walker Building opened for use in February 1899, the lobby has served as the building's living room.
In the building's earliest days it doubled as a dining room, and in summers gone by guests of the Woodberry Inn would have checked in there and passed hours on the comfortable couches reading or listening to the piano.
Last weekend the lobby, which received a complete redesign and revitalization this summer, was rededicated in honor of David Hayworth '47 and J. Carter Walker, the school's first headmaster. This summer Mr. Hayworth made a $5 million gift to support the entire Walker Building revitalization project
During Friday night's dedication, which drew alumni, trustees, students, and faculty to the new space, Sandy Finch '75, chairman of Woodberry's board of trustees, recounted Mr. Hayworth's long history of philanthropy in North Carolina, including extensive gifts in support of High Point University. Eli Drake '20, the senior prefect, spoke of living just steps off the lobby in A Dorm as a fourth former and recalled the visits he regularly made to the switchboard to visit Mrs. Rob. The remarks were made just feet away from a portrait of Mr. Walker that has graced the lobby for many years, and will continue to do so long into the future.
Mr. Hayworth asked that the plaque in the new Hayworth Lobby pay tribute to Mr. Walker's vision for the school and his more than fifty years of service as headmaster. It was Mr. Walker's emphasis on intellectual thoroughness and moral integrity in all matters that so impressed Mr. Hayworth as a student and guided him throughout his life.
The new lobby is just one aspect of a five-year revitalization of the building. The William H. White, Jr. Library is now located in the Reynolds Family Dining Learning Commons, forming the dining room, while A Dorm now houses the admission and college counseling offices. Boys are living in renovated dorm rooms in B and C Dorms and enjoying a new kitchen and game room along community street.
Work on the building will conclude next summer, leaving the Walker Building ready to serve as the heart of campus for many years to come.