Groundbreaking on October 14, 1970, for what was originally known as the Tower Building and was later (1974) renamed Weigle Hall. Wielding the shovel are President Richard Weigle and Tutor David Jones.
The Tower Building prior to the installation of the bell and the finial.

In 1971 the College moved ahead with the construction of a dedicated administration building. Richard Weigle writes:

The need for this was based on the usurpation of classroom space by administrative offices and on the occupation of a floor in the women’s dormitory complex for library purposes. It was thought prudent to consolidate all administrative offices in one building…. On the first floor of the Tower Building, later to become Weigle Hall, were the offices of the dean, the assistant deans, the treasurer, the director of admissions, and the director of financial aid. Upstairs were the offices of the president, the vice president, the director of development, and the director of the Graduate Institute. At the end of the hall was the faculty room, where a large table invited meetings of the faculty and, on occasion, of the Board. In the basement were the heating plant, the duplicating room, and space for 20,000 volumes in an annex to the library.

A note by an unidentified library staff member to Brother Brendan at the Library Center of the College of Santa Fe, dated November 15, 1971, makes reference to the library’s migration to this new space in the weeks before the building’s official opening, as follows:

Dear Brother,

Alice Whelan is on a short vacation, but I know she would want me to express to you on behalf of all the library staff our sincere thanks for all the masses, novenas, pilgrimages, nocturnal vigils, votives, stations, rosaries, offices, and misericordes you obviously offered up for us on the occasion of our recent library move here at St. John’s. I refuse to dwell on what could have been without those book trucks and ramps; however, we are successfully moved now, and I want to take this opportunity to send our feelings of gratitude to you for the loan of those most practical things. Muchas gracias.


Moving library books (1971)
Moving vinyl (1971)
Moving vinyl (1971)

The new Tower Building, with its additional library shelving space, officially opened on December 4th, 1971. Seven months later, the Santa Fe campus received an unexpected boon when Annapolis alumnus Jac Holzman joined the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors. Holzman had founded Elektra records in his student days at St. John’s, later going on to sign some of the greatest musical acts of the time—groups like the Doors and Queen and singers like Carly Simon and Judy Collins, to name just a few. As Weigle tells it:

Jac Holzman came to me in the summer and inquired about the possibility of making a major gift to the College for a building. I recalled that there were plans for the music and fine arts wing of the future library. These I showed to Holzman, and they suited his purposes perfectly. The result was his gift of $300,000 toward the cost of the building…. A dedication was held in October 1973 after the College had already commenced using the building. Books, records, tapes, and scores were moved during the summer into the new music library, which was well equipped with the best listening stations. Elsewhere on the first floor were two music seminar rooms and two practice rooms or offices. The second floor, connected to the upper story of the student center by a bridge, contained a comfortable listening lounge for larger groups of students, an office, and a commodious fine arts studio. As the ground fell away to the south, the lower floor could be used for six practice rooms and a ceramics studio, to say nothing of the space devoted to mechanical equipment. The building made a splendid addition to the physical plant of the College. It was named the Sternberger-Weis Music and Fine Arts Center as a memorial to Jac Holzman’s grandparents, Estelle M. Sternberger and Rabbi J. Max Weis.

Alumnus and Elektra Records Founder Jac Holzman at the 1973 dedication of the Sternberger-Weis Music and Fine Arts Center, flanked by Richard Weigle and Mrs. Minette Holzman on the left and architect William Buckley on the right.

This building, referred to commonly in the years since as the “Fine Arts Building,” or “FAB,” was to hold the campus’s growing music collection for the next seventeen years. With a long history of various orchestral, chamber, and vocal ensembles, as well as a world-class opera in existence since 1957, Santa Fe’s devotion to the musical arts vies with its love of the literary arts, and the campus’s collections were soon augmented by regular and substantial donations of vinyl and musical scores from the growing number of Santa Feans who had become friends and supporters of the College, to the point that a separate arm of the Friends of the Library came into existence: the Friends of the Music Collection. Nor was the new Music and Fine Arts Center Jac Holzman’s only gift to the College and its library. Not long after, it was further enhanced by a substantial donation of rare folk and rock music materials from Holzman’s personal collection, which resides in the Meem Library to this day.    

Checking out vinyl in the Sternberger-Weis Fine Arts Center Music Library
Vinyl and reel-to-reel listening stations in the Sternberger-Weis Fine Arts Center (FAB)