New home for the humanities announced: Renovations of current Demosthenean Hall expected to be completed by March 2018

Sasha Weilbaker, Senior Writer

Funding for a new Humanities Center on campus was approved by the Board of Trustees during their Feb. 2–4 meeting. Demosthenean Hall, located next to the Bertrand Library, will be renovated in early June so that the building can become the new Humanities Center on campus. Originally used as the Delta Upsilon fraternity house, the building currently serves as the Computing & Technology affinity house. The renovation project is expected to be completed by March 2018.

The Humanities Center will house a variety of groups on campus, including the Griot Institute for Africana Studies, the University press, and faculty offices. The house will also feature a digital humanities lab, a small library, and a sizable student space. The idea for the Humanities Center was conceived in 2015 by the Humanities Council and spearheaded by James Mark Shields, director of the Humanities Council and associate professor of comparative humanities and Asian thought.

Professor of Art History Roger Rothman explained how the Humanities Center aims to make the humanities a more visible force on campus and reinforce the University’s liberal arts identity.

“The humanities are a vital part of a liberal arts education, but unlike a number of other disciplines at Bucknell—including science, engineering, and the arts—it’s often difficult to visualize the work of humanistic scholarship,” Rothman said.

The goal of the new Humanities Center is to “bring together students who study humanistic fields to share their work-in-progress as well as their final products and enable scholars, both on campus and invited, to share their work in a common space,” Rothman said.

This will be the first time the humanities will have a central location to work in.

Greg Clingham, the director of the University press and professor of English, expressed his excitement about relocating from the basement of Taylor Hall to the renovated workspace.

“We will have more spacious, more purpose-built accommodations that are able to support our needs,” Clingham said.

Clingham also said that the University Press will be “more physically accessible” to students interested in learning about or interning for the University Press in the future, and that the building in general will “enhance and encourage our understanding of literature and the arts so we can engage with the past in order to live a more meaningful present,” Clingham said.

Members of the humanities departments are excited to see what will become of the proposal that University President John Bravman and Provost Barbara Altmann presented to the Board of Trustees in early February.

“A large statement is being made by supporting the Humanities Center and acknowledging the central role the humanities play,” Clingham said.

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