The Wellness House, built in 2001, was named in fall 2005 for the longtime Baltimore civic leader Walter Sondheim Jr. and his late wife, Janet. A former chair of the Goucher College Board of Trustees and a trustee emeritus, Sondheim was a steadfast supporter of the college and an active participant in its community for many years. His innovative leadership helped Goucher remain strong and independent through periods of financial difficulty. He was a 1929 graduate of Haverford College and worked for years in his family's department store in Baltimore.
Sondheim is best known as one of the principal architects of the revitalization of downtown Baltimore and its famed Inner Harbor. As chair of the city's Urban Renewal and Housing Commission and, later, Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management, he guided a decades-long process of urban renewal that came to be known as the "Baltimore Renaissance," and he served as a model for redevelopment in other cities.
Earlier in his career, he led the desegregation of Baltimore's public schools as president of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. He has also served as chair of the Maryland Governor's Commission on School Performance and president of the Maryland State Board of Education.
In honor of his lifelong dedication to the city of Baltimore and the education of its citizens, Goucher College awarded him the John Franklin Goucher Medal in 1977, the Judge Sarah T. Hughes Award for Public Service in 1993, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 1995.
This is our wellness and substance-free building. It offers a holistic community for students interested in healthy lifestyles and the support of a community that chooses to abstain from drugs and alcohol. The house offers suite-style living spaces which also include large open-spaced common rooms. In order to live in Sondheim students must submit an application yearly to be considered for a spot in Sondheim Residence Hall.