Spencer Hall both reflects and extends Sewanee’s distinguished tradition of science instruction and research, expanding the physical space dedicated to scientific study while also making possible new scholarly opportunities for faculty and students.

Spencer Hall     Spencer Hall

Spencer Hall is designed to foster a spirit of openness and cross-disciplinary work. From the dramatic Harris Commons to the interior glass walls open to laboratory space and reading rooms, the building offers “science in sight” that encourages the formal and informal exchange of ideas and promotes collaboration. The light-filled hallways and comfortable reading rooms are intended to draw students and faculty together outside the classroom.

Biology lab

Biology facilities include:

  • Darwin Garden
  • Ecology Lab
  • Greenhouse
  • Harris Commons
  • Herbarium
  • Landscape Analysis Lab
  • Microscopy Lab
  • Molecular Biology Lab
  • Seminar and Reading Rooms
  • Teaching and Research Labs
  • Tissue Culture Suite


William Spencer portrait

In the attainments of his scholarly and professional life, in service to society and his fellow man, and in extraordinary devotion to his alma mater, William M. Spencer III, exemplifies the Sewanee ideal. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the Class of 1941, he earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and also served as editor of the Cap & Gown and president of Phi Delta Theta while at Sewanee. After graduation, he briefly attended medical school before enlisting with the United States Marine Corps, serving in the Pacific Theater.
Upon returning to civilian life, Mr. Spencer earned his Master of Business Administration degree at Harvard University and moved to his native Birmingham, Alabama, where he embarked on a distinguished entrepreneurial career in manufacturing and pharmaceutical research and development spanning nearly six decades.
Throughout his life, Mr. Spencer dedicated himself to civic and professional service. He served on the boards of directors for numerous public and private corporations, including the Robertson Banking Company, AmSouth Bancorporation, BE&K, Inc., Atlee Manufacturing, Genuine Parts Company, and Mead Corporation, among others.
Mr. Spencer was a member of the Alabama Academy of Honor, and served as chairman of the board of trustees of the Birmingham Museum of Art where he led an extensive renovation and expansion of both the physical museum and its collection, transforming it into what is now considered one of the finest regional art museums in the country. He was a member of the board of trustees of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and volunteered to serve the United Way, the Birmingham Symphony, and the Boy Scouts.
In service to The University of the South, Mr. Spencer gave generously of his time, talent and treasure. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Sewanee in 1984 in recognition of his dedication to advancing Sewanee, and through his generosity the stained glass window in memory of his parents, Margaret W. and William M. Spencer, was added to All Saints’ Chapel. The informal dining room of McClurg Hall was named The Spencer Room in his honor in May 2001. Mr. Spencer was awarded an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in 2006 recognizing his lifetime achievement.