More than 900 people comprising students, faculty, staff, MSU trustees, donors and community members attended the Friday, September 7, Grand Opening of the beautiful, hi-tech and eco-friendly Wells Hall Addition. Overcast skies made for excellent photos, a lively jazz quartet played for the crowd, there were smiles all around, a ribbon-cutting surrounded by students dressed in six colors of College of Arts and Letter t-shirts, building tours led by students, and delicious food and drink throughout the new building. (See photos from the event.)
College of Arts and Letters Dean Karin A. Wurst kicked off the official ceremony by welcoming attendees and reminding all of the significance of the building and the occasion.
"As all sectors internationalize, language proficiency and cultural competency will be integral parts of nearly every job and career," said Dean Wurst. "The new Wells Hall addition, and all that it allows us to do, will play a critical role in making sure our students are prepared to meet the ever-changing challenges of the world around them."
MSU Trustee Faylene Owen noted, “As a Trustee during these financially difficult—yet promising—times, it is an honor to be here and participate in the grand opening of this new, cutting-edge facility that represents our commitment to MSU, to Michigan, and beyond.”
Next up was MSU and College of Arts and Letters student representative Madison Boden who regaled the crowd with her experiences as a Chinese major learning, studying and practicing the correct way to speak the language with her classmates and teachers. Madison’s stated belief that the new spaces will allow for even greater interactions between faculty and students brought smiles and nods of affirmation from many in the crowd.
This belief was echoed by MSU Provost Kim A. Wilcox, who said, “In this new space, the University will continue to foster critical and interdisciplinary thinking and research, and collaborative teaching and learning. The addition’s layout and design create a variety of new spaces, blending both private and open concepts, to encourage a broad range of scholarly and social interactions. All of this will help us retain the best students and researchers to our community of scholars.”
In closing out the ceremony’s remarks, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said: “This building concentrates some of our brightest people, and will now be even more capable of aggregating our human assets and expanding our vision of MSU’s global focus. Global isn’t a bolt-on option for MSU – and international orientation is now woven into the fabric of our being, and into the MSU student experience.
“Anchored to this place on the banks of the Red Cedar, the Wells Hall addition will allow us to carry out the Land Grant tradition in a new, global age, in the skills we teach and the experiences we broaden.”
Following the President’s remarks, Dean Wurst beckoned the ribbon-cutting participants to gather, and President Simon and Provost Wilcox encouraged the 50 CAL students sitting behind them to join them. With smiles all around, President Simon cut the ribbon to resounding applause, the clicking of numerous camera shutters, and even a few cheers from the students.
Provost Wilcox then handed the giant scissors to a student and held the ribbon for her to cut into small pieces that he handed to CAL students who had gathered around, while Student Tour leader Paige Fouty invited everyone to come tour the building. Nearly everyone took her up on the offer, with the last tour completing its circuit of the four-story addition about an hour later.
Sitting on the new addition’s lobby stairs, their duties complete and finally free to enjoy some of the food and drink, several members of the student tour group talked about how much fun it had been to show off the new building. As a whole, they were happy to see so many students take the tour, and one commented that she had a tour group that included a five-year-old little girl and a 95-year-old woman.
“And they both had a great time touring the building.” she said.
As the rest of the student tour guides nodded in agreement, she added, “This event has been so much fun! Wells Hall rocks!”