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Ryland Hall was the central building in Ralph Adams Cram's plan for the university. It accommodated the main elements of the academic program, remaining substantially unchanged until 1973 when it was somewhat modernized. These changes were reversed in a comprehensive restoration in 1989/1990. Today, the building is remarkable for the way it accommodates a contemporary educational program in a historic, inspirational setting.
The building typifies Cram's vision for education in a Gothic setting. He accomplished this using a southeastern regional variant of his collegiate Gothic vocabulary. In particular, he executed this building (and others) utilizing the strong southeastern brick building tradition rather than the random ashlar (stone) vocabulary he employed at the U.S. Military Academy, Princeton and elsewhere.
Today, the building remains a prominent feature of the principal academic quadrangle, serving long and well in its important academic role.