The new Stanley O’Brien ’74 Center for Collaboration and Engagement, built on the friendship of two alumni, was dedicated Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.
David R. Mixer ’74, former trustee, made the gift in honor of his friend, classmate, trustee and mentor.
On the east side of Admissions at Grant Hall, the 9,000-square-foot building is a point of entry for thousands of prospective students and families each year. It serves as a conference center and presentation space. It features a large meeting room with video wall, breakout spaces and offices. The fall meeting of the Board of Trustees was the first event held in the building.
The O’Brien Center is the first building on campus to be named for an African-American.
“I could think of no better way to honor Union relationships than to suggest that this building be named for Stanley O’Brien,” said Mixer, managing partner of MiddleLand Capital. “Stan and I would like the building to be an icon for the importance of relationships. We hope that when prospective students walk through this building, they will see many reminders of Union relationships that last a lifetime.”
Mixer recalled meeting O’Brien just weeks into their first year. Five years ago, O’Brien invited Mixer to join the board and served as his mentor.
“Throughout my term as a trustee, I saw how engaged Stan was with the College,” said Mixer. “He was a key player on the board, a leader who cared deeply about the institution. He made me reflect on why Union was important to me. It’s about lasting personal relationships.”
O’Brien, retired vice president of BNY Mellon Center, has been a trustee at Union for 11 years.
“By creating this space, we hope to provide an environment that will allow for the continued development of bridges, empowering students, faculty and staff to find new perspectives while acquiring a new appreciation for each other,” he said.
O’Brien, an economics major at Union who played basketball, football and lacrosse, recognized three of his mentors: Peter Prosper, professor of economics; Paul LeClerc, professor of French; and Bruce Allison, head lacrosse coach.
The building is “a model in a world where often differences separate us,” said John E. Kelly III ’76, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Here at Union, as displayed between these two gentlemen, it is possible for us all to come together.”
President David R. Harris ended the dedication by reading from the plaque inside the entrance: “Throughout his life, Stanley has bridged differences by focusing on acceptance and inclusion. This space pays tribute to Stanley’s humanity and leadership in empowering individuals and building communities.”
“That’s what it’s all about,’ Harris said. “Future generations will see the names, but more important, they’ll know the story.”