Below is an email that was distributed to all Club members earlier today.  I am staying in one of their hotel rooms this evening and its sad to think that it will be for the last time.  I for one will miss it.

Dear Williams Club Members,
 
After nearly a century of serving our extended New York City community from our location on East 39th Street, the Williams Club will cease its own clubhouse and hospitality operations and move its membership program and related activities to the Princeton Club of New York on June 1, 2010.

Through a special arrangement reached with the Princeton Club, all Williams Club members who renew their annual memberships in the coming weeks will have the full rights of regular members of the Princeton Club, located on West 43rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues,  including full access to its membership facilities and services. The Princeton Club, which already is a base for clubs of Columbia and NYU alumni, has newly remodeled hotel, dining, meeting and athletic facilities. We hope to see a bust or image of President James A. Garfield, an 1856 graduate of Williams College, join those of Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Princeton Club’s members lounge.  
 
Details of the new arrangement, including your new membership card, will be mailed to you shortly. Later this week, the Princeton Club will post a special webpage for Williams Club members, www.princetonclub.com/williamsclub , to provide additional information about the Princeton Club and its facilities.  In addition, the Princeton Club will hold a welcome reception/open house for members and prospective members on June 7. Please direct any questions about your Williams Club membership or renewal to the Williams Club’s general manager, Gabrielle Keane, at 212-697-5300.
 
Established by prominent Williams alumni in 1913, the Williams Club has operated since 1924 out of two connected brownstones on East 39th Street, off Madison Avenue. But, regrettably, maintaining such an independent facility, including hotel and restaurant operations, has become financially impractical, which led your Board of Governors to make the difficult, but carefully considered, decisions that we announce here.
 
The Club was formed by alumni such as Herbert Lehman, the future governor of New York, with incorporation papers declaring its primary mission as “to advance the interests and influence of Williams College in New York.” But like most of the university clubs in New York, it was established and maintained as a separate entity, legally independent of Williams College.
 
For many years Williams has been the only school of its size whose alumni maintained a separate club, but the Williams Club was too small to survive independently. There is a sense both of sadness and the end of an era, but the move to the clubhouse of the Princeton Club will allow us to focus on the core elements of our mission and to better serve our members.
 
Williams’ Acting Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development Mike Reed ’75 acknowledged this important transition: “The Club’s service to the College has long been loyal and in recent years has been valiant as it strived to maintain a small hospitality operation in a post-9/11, and then post-Great-Recession, New York. Freed of that financial challenge, the Club is positioned to provide many more years of service to its members and to Williams.”
 
To celebrate the Club’s new home, our first official event in the new location will be the ninety-seventh annual meeting of the Williams Club and the Club’s Annual Dinner, both to be held on Thursday evening, June 24. The guest speaker at our annual dinner will be Bethany McLean ’92, Vanity Fair Contributing Editor and author of The Smartest Guys in the Room. The evening will serve as an introduction to our new clubhouse and an opportunity to see the Williams Club flag fly alongside the orange, purple, and blue banners of Princeton, NYU and Columbia. Details of this event will follow shortly.  The Board of Governors and I hope to see you there.
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Jeff Urdang ’89
President, Williams Club Board of Governors

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