June 5, 2003
It is my great pleasure to welcome you all here this morning, and especially to welcome Elliott Kanbar of the Class of 1956 back to Bowdoin. With Elliott’s support and encouragement, we are able today to break ground on an important new facility for the College. All of us – but especially members of our faculty and the students who will one day teach and learn together on this site – are tremendously grateful to Elliott, to his brother Maurice Kanbar and to the Kanbar Charitable Trust for making today possible for Bowdoin.
We’ve had many groundbreaking ceremonies on this campus in the past decade, but none more important than this. (And it’s not because this is the first time I get to grab one of these shovels as president!) It’s because this new facility will make a huge difference in what is most important at Bowdoin: our academic program. When this facility opens its doors in September 2004, Bowdoin will at long last be able to provide high quality space that will enhance and draw together in meaningful ways several dispersed academic programs and the people who make them work.
We are gathered this morning adjacent to one of the most active intersections in Brunswick. If you think it looks busy now, come back on any Friday afternoon in July and August! When completed, Kanbar Hall will serve as a beacon on this corner, representing Bowdoin College to the public in an attractive and inviting way. The design for the building is sensitive to the scale of its surroundings and preserves most of the trees here, especially the larger trees. While the principal entrance will be off the Cleaveland quad, students, faculty and visitors will also be able to enter Kanbar Hall from Bath Road.
But as appealing and welcoming as the building will be on the outside – and it will be both – the real value to Bowdoin will come, of course, from the educational activities going on inside, and especially from the enhanced interaction of faculty and students who will benefit greatly from the function and utility of this hall.
We truly expect Kanbar Hall to be a gathering spot and a hub of activity and learning at Bowdoin. Just look at what will be happening here:
So there is a great deal of excitement and anticipation on campus as we break ground here today. When we open Kanbar Hall in a little over a year, we expect activity here day and night. And we expect a palpable expansion of Bowdoin’s learning community to this corner of our historic campus.
Today’s ceremony concludes the planning process for Kanbar Hall, an effort that took a lot of hard work on the part of a lot of people, including members of our building committee, members of our faculty and staff, Craig McEwen and Bill Torrey, our architect for the project – Peter Kuttner and his team at Cambridge 7, and Dave D’Angelo and Don Borkowski in Facilities. But we would be nowhere today without Elliott Kanbar.
With the planning behind us, it’s time to put some shovels in the ground and get on with construction. But before we do, I’d like to ask Elliott Kanbar to come forward to say a few words. Elliott…