Named for: Barry Bingham Sr. and his wife, Mary C. Bingham
Address: 127 South Maple Avenue, Danville, KY 40422
ADA Accessible: Entrance, restrooms
- Student Residence
- Laundry Facility
- Computer Lab
The Story Behind the Name: Bingham Hall
For nearly three decades, Bingham Hall has stood as a significant addition to Centre College.
When it was completed in 1988, the 50-student residence hall relieved a severe campus housing shortage. The building has been a tribute to its donors, Barry Bingham Sr. and his wife, Mary C. Bingham. Barry Bingham died in 1988, Mary Bingham in 1995.
As the owners of a renowned Louisville media empire, the Binghams were viewed as Kentucky’s royal family. They enjoyed wealth and power, but they also grappled with the tragic deaths of two sons and the sale of their empire to end a family dispute. At the time of the sale, the Bingham Fund they established provided a $1 million gift to Centre for a new residence hall.
In its golden era, the Bingham holdings included the Courier-Journal, a morning newspaper ranked among the nation’s 10 best; the Louisville Times, an innovative afternoon paper; a TV station; two radio stations; and a printing company. The newspapers won eight Pulitzer Prizes. Journalists flocked to Louisville.
Judge Robert Worth Bingham bought the Courier-Journal and Times in 1918. It would be run as a “public trust,” he said. Barry Sr. succeeded his father in 1937; his son, Barry Jr., took over in 1971. By taking slim newspaper profits, the Binghams could deliver the Courier-Journal to all of Kentucky’s 120 counties, making it one of the state’s most powerful institutions.
The great sports writer Dave Kindred spent 12 years there before leaving for the Washington Post in 1977. “I had decided I’d never leave except to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, or the Washington Post,” he later wrote in Louisville’s weekly Voice-Tribune. “Anything else would be a step down from the Courier-Journal.”
It takes money to do great journalism, and the Binghams were not cheap. Bingham Hall is evidence of that.
by Art Jester
March 21, 2017
This article originally appeared in the spring 2017 issue of Centrepiece, Centre College’s alumni magazine.