Friday, February 7, 2014

A special dedication

Facutly, staff, students, alumni and community
members gathered in Centennial Hall Feb. 5
for the new academic building's dedication ceremony.
View more photos from the event.
What a joy this week to formally dedicate Centennial Hall, our sparkling new academic building — the first on campus in more than 30 years. We had a great crowd for the third-floor ceremony (and a great view of lower campus as our scenic backdrop) as we marked this significant moment in the life of UW-Eau Claire. What's more, when you think ahead about the impact of the teaching and learning that will take place there for decades to come, it was a significant moment in the life of our city, our region, our state and our world.

It was a day to reflect a bit on our history as well. We recalled that the date of the ceremony, Feb. 5, also was the date in 1910 when the site on which our campus would be built, between a bend in the Chippewa River and the bluffs of Putnam Park, was selected by Wisconsin's Board of Regents of Normal Schools. In my remarks, I also recalled the words of then Wisconsin Governor Emanuel Philipp when he participated in the 1916 dedication of our first campus building, Schofield Hall:

“We have met here today to dedicate this beautiful building. It has been built by the fathers and mothers and other interested taxpayers in order that you, the sons and daughters of the commonwealth, might have better educational service. It not only benefits you, and yours, but will go on benefitting as long as the walls of this massive building last.”

What important words to repeat. They are a reminder of the common good that is served by our university, and of the sacrifices by the people of our state to make that possible. I was honored to be a part of this week’s celebration of Centennial Hall and what it means for the continuation of UW-Eau Claire’s nearly 100-year tradition of excellence in teaching and learning.