Ceremony for Academic West focuses on progress

Paige Bailey

On Sept. 13, the University hosted a topping out ceremony for Academic West that focused on the school’s tradition of dedication to progress. President John Bravman highlighted this tradition of progress through a brief history of the University. He reminded the audience that years ago, a group of people decided to “build something special,” and that Academic West is just the newest addition to this rich legacy of achievement.

This was the first “topping out” ceremony in University history, and it commemorated the last beam that was placed in the new structure. Bravman first invited members of Bucknell Student Government (BSG) to sign the orange steel beam. He then encouraged the rest of the audience to share in the University history through signing the beam. Members of the faculty, staff, students and trustees eagerly signed the beam before it was placed at the top of Academic West.

I think the new academic building signifies the commitment Bucknell is making to its students and faculty. Not being here to enjoy the building is a little sad, but seeing the direction the University is going is encouraging,” BSG President Dotun Odewale ’13 said.

“Working with the University was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” architect Alex Wing said. He also admired that the University was rooted in a precedent that is looking forward. Wing commended this commitment to both tradition and progress, in terms of architectural design features and the broader philosophical aims of the University.

Board of Trustees representative Ellen Bush ’79 also commented on how Academic West fits into the rich tradition and legacy of the University.

“This is not just a structure … this is a statement,” Bush said.

Bush believes the building is linked to the core mission of the University: to provide the best undergraduate experience in the nation. She said she was proud of the new project as both a trustee and alumna.

“The University is about people. But you can’t bring great people together to do great things unless you also have great places for them to work and build together. This is what we’re doing today. It is the legacy of the next, best version of Bucknell,” Bravman said.

Academic West is one building within the nexus of the new quad. It will be home to the social sciences, including the economics, environmental studies, geography, international relations, Latin American studies, political science, sociology and anthropology departments. The building will have an auditorium and hearth spaces for students overlooking the Susquehanna. It will be opened and dedicated in the fall of 2013.

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