The original portions of Davidson Hall were completed in 1928 with other sections added in 1933 and 1938. The building was renovated in 1964, in 1965, and again in 2014.
Davidson Hall1040 Drillfield Drive
Davidson Hall houses offices, classrooms, and laboratories for the chemistry department. The department is also housed in Hahn Hall North and South.
Davidson Hall is joined to South Hahn Hall by a tunnel at the rear of the building.
The building, which dates to the 1930s, got a full overhaul into a modern teaching-and-research building, leaving only the original stone facade untouched. A $31.1 million renovation completed in 2014 provided 45,000 square feet of state-of-the-art lab space and a new lecture hall that seats 300 people. The Facilities Department completed a full renovation of the 28,688-square-foot historic front section of Davidson Hall in June 2018.
Robert James Davidson
Davidson Hall is named for Robert James Davidson, who came from South Carolina College in 1891, beginning as Adjunct Professor of Chemistry and Chemist to the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. At the close of the session of 1893-1894, he was advanced to a full professorship. Ten years later, he was made Dean of the Department of Applied Sciences. He was a member of the Washington Academy of Science, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the American Chemical Society, and a member of the National Association of Official Agricultural Chemists, serving as its President in 1903. In 1909, he was a delegate to the International Congress of Applied Chemistry at London. Davidson died very suddenly at his home on the campus of the Institute on the morning of Sunday, December 19, 1915. In 1927, as the new building was nearing completion, a recommendation was made to the Board of Visitors and approved to name the building for Davidson. As noted in the report of the president at the time, "He was respected and admired by his colleagues, he was held in affection by his students, and he was greatly appreciated by the farmers of Virginia to whom he was a valuable advisor."