In addition to all the perennial favorites – the Alumni Parade, convocation, picnic and fireworks – this year’s celebration featured a special groundbreaking ceremony for the new Integrated Science and Engineering Complex.
The $100 million project, the most ambitious and largest in the school’s history, will be completed in phases over the next two years. This includes an addition completed for fall term 2018 and renovation of three sections of the existing S&E Center by fall 2019.
John E. Kelly III ‘76, chair of the board of trustees, called the project a transformational moment for the College.
“Technology and the liberal arts are the future of our country,” Kelly said during the ceremony Friday afternoon.
Thomas Gagliardi ’19, a biochemistry major, spoke proudly about his experience at Union. He said the project will greatly enhance the opportunities for students and faculty.
“This long-awaited transformation of science and engineering will encourage students to pursue undergraduate exploratory research and enable faculty to provide beneficial opportunities that are the hallmark of a personalized Union College education,” he said. “The science and engineering facilities will rival the best in the country and will, most importantly, be accessible to students of many disciplines, due to the nature of Union’s unique, small liberal arts environment.”
President Stephen C. Ainlay placed the project in historical context, explaining how it fits into the vision French architect Joseph Ramée had when he created Union’s campus plan more than 200 years ago. Working closely with President Eliphalet Nott, Ramée designed a campus that became a model for collegiate planning.
“This groundbreaking is every bit as historic as the day Nott met Ramée and they started out on this great adventure,” Ainlay said. “I believe this building is going to be the catalyst for the incredible re-opening of the minds of the entire campus.”
He promised the complex will take Union to greater heights, not only in the STEM fields but across all disciplines.
“Make no mistake,” Ainlay said, “this building will set the standard for what it means to be a liberal arts college.”
He offered generous praise to the donors and the Board of Trustees, “who had the vision to understand that this was a historic opportunity and had the courage to make this day possible.”
Other highlights included book signings by Nancy Borowick ’07 (The Family Imprint) and Dr. Laurie Mintz ’82 (Becoming Cliterate), a Phi Beta Kappa 200th anniversary reception, and a multicultural/LGBTQIA reception. Visitors also had the chance to participate in a unique tour, which provided an overview of several of Union’s recent campus improvements, including the Wold Center and the Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts.
The Alumni Council also presented Alumni Gold Medals to Drena Webster Root ’87 (technical director, MGH Fireman Vascular Center); Jason Oshins ’87 (Law Offices of Jason Oshins, CNN commentator); and Nick Famulare ’92 (senior director of development, Union College). Charles Steckler, professor of theater and resident scenic designer, received the Faculty Meritorious Service Award.
“ReUnion 2017 was a great success! The weekend gave alumni an opportunity to reconnect with classmates, faculty and the campus, and recall what it felt like to be a student walking the paths to class, a concert or athletic event,” said Marna Redding, director of Alumni & Parent Engagement. “Amidst all the fun and memories, we hope this weekend also reminded alumni that the Union of today could not be what it is without them, our loyal graduates. See you at ReUnion 2018!”
The 50th ReUnion Class of 1967 received the Anable Cup for the greatest participation, while the Class of 1947 received the McClellan Cup for greatest class percentage. The Class of 1957 received the Van Voast/Class of 1941 Cup for best costume. The Class of 1967 also received the Class of 1943 ReUnion Award for greatest ReUnion effort.
To view a photo gallery from the weekend, visit Union on Facebook.
ReUnion 2018 will be held May 18-20.