Construction for what is now known as Rich Hall began in 1958 when the college approved plans for a new library. The small library in Old Main would be moved to this new, independent building. The building was designed by the firm of renowned architect Lorimer Rich, best known for designing the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery which commemorates the unknown soldiers who died serving their country.
In 1961, the library building was ready to be opened to students but not before the transport of some 32,000 books from Old Main. Penfield Library, as it was known at its opening, was named for Lida S. Penfield, former chairman of the English department and authority on local history. In addition to her contributions to the English department, she wrote a book for young people entitled Stories of Old Oswego. Later that decade, a larger library rose as part of the new Academic Plaza and Penfield's name would follow. Its former space took the name of Grace Ellingwood Rich Hall, named for the Oswego alumna and beloved sister of famed architect Lorimer Rich.
With its new name, Rich Hall hosted many departments and programs including international education, modern language, publications, educational administration and University Police.
A building for business
Forty years after its initial construction, Rich Hall underwent $8 million of renovations to prepare a home for Oswego's internationally accredited School of Business. The previous business school resided in Swetman Hall. Renovations added modern high-tech classrooms, team study rooms, a business commons, alumni lounge, food court, and conference room to create a business-centered environment for students to learn.
Completed in 2003, renovations to Rich Hall also create a home for the busy Office of Business and Community Relations, which administers such programs as the Small Business Development Center, micro-enterprise training and Leadership Oswego County.
-- Kathleen Davis, Class of 2012