West Gymnasium

Ben Weiss

On September 3, 2006, Carleton student and varsity swim team captain Ted Mullin lost his battle with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Beloved by students and faculty alike, he was completely invested in college life. He exhibited a strength and love of learning that left an unforgettable impression on the Carleton community.

Two months after Mullin’s death, the Carleton swim team decided to “leave it in the pool” in honor of his passing. On November 7, 2006, they participated in the first “Hour of Power,” an hour-long relay designed to raise awareness of sarcoma. Currently, the “Hour of Power” flourishes; in 2013-14, the event attracted more than 8,100 contributing athletes from across the country. And like nine years ago, it still occurs in the 25-yard pool in West Gymnasium.

Since its construction in 1964, West Gym has served as the setting for numerous college athletic and academic events. Designed by Minoru Yamasaki, one of the country’s most celebrated mid-century architects (and designer of the World Trade Center), it was initially part of President Laurence Gould’s ambitious plan to redesign campus. Costing $1.1 million, it was called the men’s gym; women had a separate facility-Cowling Gymnasium—also designed by Yamasaki.

West Gymnasium remains heavily in use today. Intramural basketball games occur under the spacious ceilings, and Carleton’s swim team still holds practices and meets in the pool. And every November, Carleton swimmers exhaust themselves in honor and memory of Ted Mullin.