History of the Campuses and Buildings of the University of Rochester
United States Hotel Prince Street Campus Eastman School of Music Medical Center River Campus Mid-Campus South Campus Mt. Hope Campus Graduate, Family and Veteran Housing Central Utilities Other Off-Site Buildings
River Campus Thomas H. Jackson Court

Artists Rendering of Jackson Court

Towers Living Center in 1964
Dennis O'Brien Hall

Martin B. Anderson
John N. Wilder
William N. Sage
Dennis O'Brien
Thomas H. Jackson

The need for more dormitory space combined with growing numbers of women students resulted in a decision to build a new coed dormitory north of the existing Women's Residence Hall.  The new facility would consist of two ten-story towers to house 500 students and an attached dining facility.  A third tower was anticipated in the planning.  Construction began in late 1961 and the residence halls opened in September 1963 with the dining center finished the following month.  The original names were East Tower, West Tower, and Towers Dining Center.

In late 1965 the Trustees voted to name the entire complex "Founders Court," with the west tower named at first University president Martin B. Anderson and the east tower for John N. Wilder, first chairman of the Board of Trustees.  The dining center would be named after William N. Sage, long-time secretary of the Board of Trustees. Anderson's name was also used on the 1861 Anderson Hall, first building on the Prince Street Campus.

The Sage dining center was closed in May 1972 after students were allowed to eat in any dining hall and Sage revenues dropped.  It was reopened as a recreation center that fall and in 1975 became the Sage Arts Center.

A third tower was opened in 2012 and was named after former President Dennis O'Brien.  The entire complex was also renamed after former President Thomas H. Jackson.

1857 Rochester: A Poem Delivered Before the Literary Societies of the University of Rochester, July 7, 1857, by John Nichols Wilder

1858 John N Wilder (1813-1858) Grave in Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, New York

1886 An Outline History of the University of Rochester 
Page 19:  1858. July 15.  John N. Wilder, one of the earliest, staunchest and most useful of the friends of the University, and, from its organizatin, President of the Board of Trustees, died.

1890 William N. Sage (1819-1890) Grave in Mt. Hope Cemetery

1950 Our first century of service, 1850-1950, Monroe County Savings Bank

1961 "UR to Build Dorm for Men, Women," Democrat and Chronicle, April 26, 1961, Page 18.

1961 "Bid Chosen for Construction of New Dormitory Complex," Campus Times, October 3, 1961, Page 1.

1963 "2 New UR Buildings to Open," Democrat and Chronicle, September 1, 1963, Page 2B.
Hopeman and Towers

1963 "Towers Depicted as Plush -- An Experiment in Coed Living," Campus Times, September 20, 1963, Page 1. | Part 2 | Pictures |

1963 "Third Tower Included in Expansion Scheme," Campus Times, October 11, 1963, Page 1. | Part 2 |

1963 "Experiment in Undergraduate Living," Rochester Review 26(1):22-25 (September-October 1963)
The Towers Living Center.  Includes typical floor plan.

1963 "Dining Center to Open During Week of Oct. 28," Campus Times, October 18, 1963, Page 1. | Pictures |

1965 "Trustees to Rename Towers, GLC in Honor of Previous UR Leaders," Campus Times, December 14, 1965, Page 3.
West Tower - Martin Brewer Anderson; East Tower - John Nichols Wilder; dining hall - William Nathan Sage.

1966 "May Miscellany," by Arthur J. May, Rochester Review 28(3):29 (Spring 1966)
Renaming of Founders Court.

1972 "Reopened Sage Becomes UR Recreation Center," Campus Times, September 18, 1972, Page 1.

1975 "Sage to House Fine Arts," Campus Times, September 19, 1975, Page 1.

1975 "Change in Sage Function," Campus Times, October 7, 1975, Page 1.
Transferred to Fine Arts

1977 History of the University of Rochester, 1850-1962, by Arthur J. May.  Expanded edition with notes
Chapter 37, In Pursuit of Excellence
To take care of the constantly growing undergraduate body, the corporation requested and secured (1960) a low interest loan of $3 million from the Federal Housing and Home Finance Agency to construct two high rise residential structures and a low building as a community dining center. Additional funds for the project were borrowed from Rochester banks at low interest rates, and all to be amortized through operation of the complex.
It was first thought of placing the new dormitories north of the Alumni Gymnasium and tennis courts along the River Boulevard, but the objection was raised that nine-story edifices there would dominate the academic scene, so an alternate plot at the extreme northeastern section of the campus, slightly back from the Genesee River, was chosen, which necessitated the relocation of certain playing fields. The two dormitories, with facilities for a maximum of 248 students each, were named (1966) Anderson Tower, in honor of the first president of the University, and Wilder Tower (on the east),to commemorate the dedicated labors of John N. Wilder, chief of the University founding-fathers; the name of William N. Sage, a key personality in the first four decades of the University's life, was affixed to the dining center, and the group as a whole was designated the Founders Court.
Residence in the Towers, which were opened in 1962, was restricted to Seniors and some Juniors, and was on a coeducational basis, a rather novel concept in the eastern part of the United States. Some floors were assigned to men, others to women, and plans were kept flexible so as to meet shifting enrollments of the two sexes. In support of the coeducational feature, the point was made that the experiment would afford socially valuable training in maturity and responsibility and would constitute worthwhile preparation for adult life.
If the exterior of the rectangular Towers was austere brick with limestone trim, and, except for extensive use of glass, rather unimpressive, the interior was delightful; high-speed elevators were installed, and glass doors opened into corridors lined with marble walls. A typical floor contained an apartment-type suite for six students at each corner and four double rooms with shared bathroom facilities in the center space. Each suite had a living room, and a corridor leading from it opened the way to four single and one double bedroom, with pleasant study areas and closets. On each floor there was a kitchenette equipped with: a freezer-refrigerator, a stove, and garbage disposal.

2004 "Was William Nathan Sage Hall always an arts center?," Campus Times, April 8, 2004

William Nathan Sage papers, Rare Rooks and Special Collections, Rush Rhees Library
William Nathan Sage (1819-1890) was born in Ballston Spa, New York, but moved to Rochester at an early age. He graduated from Brown University in 1840, and then established a book publishing company in Rochester with his brother Nelson Sage. In 1847 he was elected county clerk and held this office for three years. In 1860 he joined the firm originally founded by his father Oren Sage, Pancost, Sage, & Morse. He later helped organize the Sage Deposit Company and was also a founder and director of Monroe County Savings Bank. When the University of Rochester was founded in 1850, William N. Sage became the secretary of the Board of Trustees. In 1851 he also became the Board's treasurer. He held both offices until his death in 1890. His work did much to contribute to the success of the University.

2021 Morris A. Pierce