The formal dedication of the Brody Learning Commons (BLC) occurred last Saturday at the grand opening ceremony of the building.
Though the building opened to students on Aug. 13, the grand opening and dedication took place this month to coincide with Leadership Weekend, when many of the University’s trustees would be on campus.
“The Brody Learning Commons reflects the way library and university study has really developed and changed,” Brian Shields, Communications and Marketing Director of the Sheridan Libraries said.
The ceremony consisted of entertainment and demonstrations of the BLC’s accoutrements.
Numerous donors and trustees who made possible the construction of the building were in attendance, as well as President Ronald J. Daniels and namesake of the Brody Learning Commons, former University President William Brody and his wife, Wendy.
The event was formulated around the concept of discovery. Several student ambassadors were on hand to guide trustees and friends of the university’s libraries through the BLC by answering questions and explaining features of the building. Additionally, students were at the event to give live demonstrations of the new technologies it has to offer.
“We highlighted the presentation rooms, the group study rooms and team spots in the group study rooms and the ideapaint wall surfaces,” senior Will Shepherdson, who chairs the Alumni Student Ambassadors program, said. “The various spaces were presented as ‘a room to discover,’ ‘a room to learn,’ ‘discuss,’ et cetera.”
Fostering the concept of discovery, there were no guided tours as part of the dedication program. Rather, all doors and rooms were open and guests were encouraged to wander through the building. Such a design allowed the guests to interact with the students, the primary consumers of the space and its technology.
“It speaks to the students who are actually using the space in their academics and extracurriculars,” Shepherdson said. “And while the point was to celebrate and thank those involved in raising the necessary funds for the building, having students there speaks to the primary users and the reason why this space was created.”
Senior Mechanical Engineer Andrew Kelly was another student ambassador at the event. He demonstrated the collaborative technologies available.
“As an engineer, collaboration is really important and the new facilities at the Brody Learning Commons allow design groups to get to levels of collaboration that we didn’t have before,” Kelly said.
The program also included addresses by Daniels, Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums Winston Tabb, Department of Computer Science Chairman Gregory Hager, senior Joy Turock and Brody and his wife. While Daniels’ speech focused on the excitement surrounding the BLC and Tabb’s focused more on conservation and preservation, Brody’s speech called attention to the effort that went into BLC and his pride at being attached to the project.
“President Daniels spearheaded a project [the building of the Brody Learning Commons] that I thought was impossible,” Brody said. “To have the Brody name attached to the Eisenhower name is truly an honor.”
Other components of the ceremony included entertainment from various student groups. Guests were able to enjoy an outdoor performance by one of Hopkins’ a cappella groups, the Octopodes. The Ray Kirk Quartet, a jazz group featuring Peabody graduate and saxophonist Ray Kirk, provided musical entertainment during the event’s cocktail hour while guests were encouraged to explore the building.
As the event and dedication began to get underway, guests were treated to additional student group performances. The African dance troupe, the Temps d’Afrique and the contemporary jazz dance group Jaywalk not only provided entertainment for the event, but also served to showcase the unique and diverse talents of Hopkins students to the donors, alumni and trustees.