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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Tolley Hall Through the Years

Tolley Humanities Building

Did you know the office of the Dean of A&S recently moved?

In May 2019, the office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences moved one building over, from the Hall of Languages to historic Tolley Hall.

The distinctive red brick and terra cotta building opened in 1889 and was originally home to the von Ranke library. Designed by local architect Archimedes Russell, it was built under the condition that it house renowned German historian Leopold von Ranke’s scholarly collection of approximately 20,000 volumes. John M. Reid, former president of Genesee College, had outbid the Prussian government to obtain the collection. A requirement of the winning bid was that the purchaser build a fireproof building to house the more than 19-ton collection.

In 1907, due to space constraints, the collection moved to Carnegie Library. The now-empty building was renamed the Administration Building and housed the offices of the chancellor, treasurer, registrar and others. In 1985, the building was rededicated and renamed in honor of former Chancellor William Pearson Tolley, the seventh chancellor of Syracuse University, who had served in that role for 27 years.

In 2007, then-Chancellor Nancy Cantor moved the chancellor’s offices to Crouse-Hinds Hall, creating room in Tolley for the new Syracuse University Humanities Center, rededicating the building in 2010.

Today, Tolley continues to be home both to the Syracuse University Humanities Center and A&S faculty offices, classrooms and much of Dean Ruhlandt’s leadership team.