Harvard Law School debuted its new Wasserstein Hall this week, which is a massive law building that will help generations of law students at Harvard. Harvard had to perform a ton of fundraising to construct such a building, but the school is not shy when it comes to naming buildings or rooms after donors. Do not forget that the university is named after a man who made the wisest donation of books in the history of academia. The new Wasserstein Hall includes the Caspersen Student Center and plenty of commemorative plaques to spread across a handful of universities.
So what else does Wasserstein Hall include? Wasserstein Hall also features a men’s room that is dedicated to William Falik. Falik made money as a lawyer and as a developer of real estate and now teaches in Boalt Hall. The bathroom at Harvard Law School is not the only one named after Falik either. There is a Falik Gentlemen’s Lounge at the Berkeley Repertory’s Roda Theater.
The story as to how the Falik gift and subsequent naming of the men’s room came about is quite funny, as told by Falik himself, according to Above the Law:
“The naming has a curious history involving conversations I had with a now distinguished Supreme Court Justice — Elena Kagan.
After several meetings with then Dean Kagan, I created a public interest fellowship in honor of my father’s 100th birthday by donating $100k to Harvard Law School.
Although I have developed several new communities in California, with a name like “Falik,” there are limited naming opportunities. (Somehow “Falik Blvd” or “Falik Ave” does not cut it). [As the] piece in the SF Chronicle suggests, I thought the best use of my name would be to name a Gentleman’s Lounge (aka Men’s Room), when I made a large donation to the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Dean Kagan, who has a great sense of humor, liked the idea, but for reasons that I cannot articulate, the Falik Gentleman’s Lounge moniker did not get through the chain of command at HLS, so alas, it is now the Falik Men’s Room.”
Falik is a 1971 graduate of Harvard Law School, which you can see from the dedication plaque in the picture in this post. Tell us your thoughts on schools, especially law schools, putting donor names on bathroom plaques to raise money for their schools. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this post.