Royal Honor for John Studzinski '78, Architectural Accolades for Namesake

Story posted February 26, 2008

John Studzinski '78, member of the Bowdoin College Board of Trustees, was honored in London on Tuesday, February 19, 2008, with a presentation by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

For his generous contributions and humanitarian work for the homeless, Studzinski was made a Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Services to Arts and to Charity.

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John Studzinski and Queen Elizabeth II

Studzinski's partner Julia Paton, his brother Ed Studzinski and fellow Trustee Paula Wardynski '79 were also present at Buckingham Palace to see Queen Elizabeth bestow the honor.

Design Awards

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Studzinski Recital Hall and Kanbar Auditorium opened in May 2007 after an 18-month renovation and preservation project made possible through the generosity of John Studzinski '78 and Elliott Kanbar '56.

Studzinski's newly transformed namesake, the former Curtis Pool-turned-state-of-the-art Studzinski Recital Hall—and its stellar performance space, Kanbar Auditorium—has earned two important design awards.

Blackstone's White Knight
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John Studzinski, a senior managing director at the prominent private equity and investment management firm, The Blackstone Group, is currently vice-chair and director of Human Rights Watch, where he serves on the Executive Committee and as chairman of the Investment Committee.

He also serves as a trustee of the Passage Day Centre for the Homeless, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Tate Gallery, and is the founder of the Benjamin Franklin Museum in London. He was the Former Chairman of Business Action on Homelessness, and serves on the Board of Emmaus.

In 2001, Studzinski was made a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory by Pope John Paul II, and in 2000 he received the Prince of Wales Ambassador's Award, both in recognition of his humanitarian work for the homeless.


The 2008 Merit Award in Architecture from the United States Institute of Theatre Technology will be presented to William Rawn Associates, the Boston design team behind the $15 million dollar project, at a conference in March in Houston, Texas.

Studzinski Recital Hall has also won the 2007 Honor Award for Design Excellence, Higher Education Facilities, from the Boston Society of Architects.

"For us, these awards recognize the successful work of the entire project team — owner, contractor and architect," said Clifford Gayley of William Rawn Associates.

"Of course, beyond awards, we hope the building continues to strengthen the academic and cultural life of the broader Bowdoin community."

William Rawn Associates collaborated with Lawrence Kirkegaard Associates and Theatre Projects Consultants.

This is the same team that designed the much acclaimed Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood for the Boston Symphony (recently ranked by Leo Beranek, in his book Concert Halls and Opera Houses: Music, Acoustics, and Architecture, as one of the two best concert halls in the United States built in the last 50 years and among the top four halls in the United States).

This team has worked together on numerous other music and performing arts projects during the past ten years.

Renovation of the Curtis Pool building began in September 2005 by H.P. Cummings Construction Company of Winthrop, Maine — the same firm that built the original Curtis Pool in 1927-28.

This time around they faced a daunting and unique challenge: remove a swimming pool — which was literally supporting the building's walls — without compromising the structural integrity of the historically significant building.

Recital Hall Slideshow
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Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Music Cristle Collins Judd describes how music, art, learning and athletics interconnect in Bowdoin's transformed cultural spaces — including the newly completed Studzinski Recital Hall and Kanbar Auditorium.

(View using Quicktime)

Specialists were brought in to carefully create support for the walls with tension bars, while the steel pool itself was painstakingly extricated and recycled.

Studzinski Recital Hall, with its intimate room for music, is central to Bowdoin's vision for achieving excellence in the arts.

The facility also satisfies students' expectations for practice space in nine individual practice rooms.

A rehearsal room, green room, lobby areas, and new and refurbished pianos complete what will now be the center of musical teaching, training and performance at the College.


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