Ryland Hall, originally known as the Academic Building, is a structure with two namesakes. The third floor of the western wing, Charles H. Ryland Hall, was home to the library until Boatwright Memorial Library was built in 1955. The library in Ryland Hall was one large room with a vaulted ceiling which, along with the walls, were dark oak (this large space is now divided into smaller offices for the English department). On both sides off the central aisle were reading alcoves. In 1914, there were 386 students, and more than half of them could be seated in the library at the same time. Including the law school books, the volumes owned by the library totaled about 20,000. Charles H. Ryland was the librarian for Richmond College at the downtown campus, but died shortly before the opening at Westhampton. His daughter, Marion Garnett Ryland, followed in his footsteps and became the first librarian at Richmond College.
The remainder of the building was known as Robert Ryland Hall, named after Richmond College's first president (1840-1866). This portion contained classrooms, meeting rooms and faculty offices, including President Boatwright's. Legend has it that Boatwright's office was situated so that he could reach into the bell tower shaft and pull a rope, ringing the bell. The cornerstone for Ryland Hall was laid on June 10, 1913 by Richmond Lodge No. 10 of the Masons.
Interesting Fact: Ryland Hall was actually intended to have another wing. If you are standing with your back towards Jepson (viewing Ryland from the west), you can see a bricked-in doorway that would have led to the extra wing.
Alley, Reuben E. History of the University of Richmond, 1830-1971
VBHS building file
Reports from the Committee on New Buildings, 1914 (VBHS)