Article by Lea Twicken, designed by Serena Mao
We’ve all been there.
The conversation after committing to Mudd or at the Thanksgiving table catching up with distant relatives:
“Oh where are you going to school?”
“Harvey Mudd College.”
“Hmmm, I haven’t heard of that…”
“Most people haven’t… It’s a small liberal arts college in Southern California focusing on STEM subjects…”
But though Harvey Mudd may be small, and though most of America hasn’t heard of us, the reach of the Mudd name is vast. Several other buildings at the 5Cs are named after the Mudd family, and 35 colleges and boarding schools across the country have Mudd buildings. Perhaps most notably, our rivals Caltech have not one, but two Mudd-named buildings! It seems that Caltech may be trying to imitate their superior neighbor, as is Pomona with its Mudd-Blaisdell Residence Hall and Seeley G. Mudd Building.
Some other Mudd buildings (satellite Mudd campuses, maybe?) have adopted not only Mudd’s name, but also our distinctive architectural style. Columbia University’s Seeley W. Mudd Building wiki page showcases the following description: “The Seeley W. Mudd Building, affectionately known as Mudd, is arguably one of Columbia’s ugliest buildings, and unarguably one of its worst named (appropriate for its ugliness).” Harsh.
The most interesting Mudd building, however, is not even part of an educational institution. The Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum near Waldorf, Maryland, was once home to the doctor who set John Wilkes Booth’s broken leg while he was on the run after shooting and ultimately assassinating President Abraham Lincoln. After Booth was caught, Dr. Mudd was arrested for conspiracy to kill the President. Though I cannot confirm whether Dr. Mudd was related to Harvey Mudd in any way, I think his story serves as a good reminder of why Mudd students must understand the impact of their work on society.