Dear Alumni: Welcome Home!
A busy college is like a living thing — growing and changing over time, while retaining its familiar essence. Just in the last five years, since the Class of 2009 left campus, Denison has seen some major building projects, a new president, even a few new tunes coming from the Swasey bell tower.
As alumni from all eras stroll around campus during Reunion Weekend 2014, they’ll be reminiscing with friends, dancing and dining on the Commons, and taking part in an Alumni Convocation, class photos, and Alumni College classes. They’ll relive fun times from the past, and we’re guessing they’ll also notice that quite a few things have changed since their Denison days.
We can’t cover all the changes if you haven’t been to campus since, say, 1939, but here’s a quick guide to what’s new in the last few years:
Not Your Mother’s Lab Space: Denison revamped Ebaugh Labs, affectionately called “Eeb” by current students, with a construction project that began during the summer of 2010. Alumni from the Class of 1964, who are back on campus to celebrate their 50th, saw the construction of the original Ebaugh in 1966, but its new design includes an additional 19,000 square feet, classrooms encouraging hands-on, experiential learning, and research space for faculty. The project won Denison’s second LEED Gold certification (the first being the Bryant Arts Center) by repurposing 800 tons of material from demolition; bringing in 20 percent of new material from local firms and companies ranging no more than 500 miles from campus; landscaping with native plants; and donating used lab materials to local schools.
Get Fit: The college broke ground on a $38.5 million renovation and addition of Mitchell Athletic Center (named in honor of the late Lou Mitchell ’57) in 2010. The extension boasts a new natatorium in the Trumbull Aquatics Center (named in honor of Scott Trumbull ’70 and his wife Margy) with an Olympic-size pool, diving well, and spectator seating for more than 1,000. Alumni can take advantage of the open hours at the Mitchell Center to go for a swim or use the new 8,000-foot Crown Fitness Center (named in honor of Janet Crown ’85) this weekend.
Formerly Fiji: Formally the Phi Gamma Delta house (aka Fiji Fraternity), Chamberlin was renovated and reopened in 2012 as Denison’s newest apartment-style residence, accommodating 56 seniors. Construction crews tore down the addition built in 1965 and added 13,000 square feet to the original 1927 structure. Since the project was built to LEED Gold standards, this meant reusing the material and offering more sustainable options for water efficiency, energy, and construction.
Do you hear the campus sing?: If you hear a few new tunes coming from the bell tower, they were made possible by six new bells installed in 2013, a parting gift — using funds available to the president for campus improvements — from former president Dale Knobel prior to his retirement on June 30 of that year.
Great Eats: The fall of 2013 brought an updated version of Huffman Dining Hall including a Mongolian-style grill, specialty pizza ovens, pasta bakes, fresh cookies, and an entire area set aside for gluten-free dining. Other changes occurred as well: You now walk in the door once used as an exit, and in line with Denison’s commitment to sustainability, the kitchens were re-equipped to minimize energy use and reduce waste, while increasing the ability to utilize local fresh food sources with Denison’s new food service provider Bon Appétit. Alumni can see for themselves how the food service stacks up during the many receptions and dinners held throughout the weekend.
The President: On July 1, 2013, Adam Weinberg and his family—wife Anne, son Nathan, daughter Abigail, and puppy Ellie—moved into Monomoy Place (eldest daughter Margaret is a student at NYU). Weinberg came to Denison from Vermont, where he was president of World Learning, an international nonprofit organization that provides education, exchange, and development programs in more than 60 countries. Alumni have the chance to hear from Denison’s new leader on Saturday (May 31) at 11:15 in Herrick Hall, where he’ll be giving his annual State of the College Address.
No. 6: All returning Homies might like to know about Cabin 6, the newest addition to the Homestead built under the guidance of Richard Downs ’77, Tom Henshaw, Homestead coordinator, Eric Alvery, general contractor, students, faculty, and staff. The new house sleeps nine and replaces the need for original Cabins 1 and 3. It also features hydronic heating fueled by an external wood stove, and a grey-water system that will support a composting toilet, showers, and laundry facilities.
And let’s not forget Granville: While Granville is the quaintest of quaint towns, the last several years have introduced several culinary worlds to Broadway. Day y Noche, a Mexican-American restaurant known for brunch; Dragon Village, a Chinese restaurant with particularly delicious honey chicken; Moe’s Original Bar B Que, offering southern-style comfort food; and Alfie’s, a stop-and-go whole foods shop, all have joined the ranks of Brews, Broadway, and Whit’s on Granville’s main drag.
And the Granville Inn, which has been here since day one, is now officially part of the Denison experience. The university purchased the Inn last fall and has plans to renovate the space over time so it can continue to function as a business. So, alumni, you’ll always have a place to stay when you come home.
- The 2014 Reunion Weekend schedule (DenisonEverywhere.com)