More than 60 years after being built, the Williams Center has been given a facelift.
Renovations were completed recently on the building and a rededication ceremony and ribbon cutting was held on Friday. SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Horvath welcomed community members, faculty, staff, alumnae and students to the ceremony.
Horvath said the Williams Center is the "campus living room," home to many student run organizations and a newly open Tim Hortons. New renovations also included efficiency heating and cooling and more natural lighting.
Photo Courtesy of SUNY Fredonia
A ribbon cutting and rededication ceremony was held Friday for the Williams Center. Holding the scissors is SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Horvath.
"This building has continued to be the campus living room for many students planning events, working for an organization or meeting for chicken finger subs," Horvath said. "We are rededicating the Williams Center here today as a reminded of how important student life is here on campus. Student life is an integral part of the university."
Also speaking at the ceremony were state Sen. Catharine Young, Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Vice President for Student Affairs David Herman, Project Architect from CJS Architects Dirk Schneider and President for SUNY Fredonia Student Association Jordan Nicholson.
Young reminisced about her time as a student at SUNY Fredonia and walking through the Williams Center and remembering the center looking much different. She said the Williams Center is an important factor in helping develop relationships.
"This center is so important to the total student development. You come to college, it is not just about classes; it's about learning, learning about life and (building) relationships," she said.
Goodell echoed Young's statements, saying the Williams Center plays a crucial role in student development.
"This Williams Center is not just about education ... it's about putting students first," he said.
Those on campus who remember the Williams Center prior to renovations are impressed with the changes.
The Williams Center is "not in the condition it was two years ago," Herman said. "It's amazing to see students who have seen the building before ... they are amazed by the change."
Students were vital in helping design the building and with the construction process. Another notable change is more natural daylight with the addition of skylights. Nicholson expressed the students' perspective of the Williams Center that serves as "the hub of the student center activity" and serves 5,700 students and more than 150 student groups.
"The most important aspect of this wonderful space is togetherness. As this institution grows and develops, so does the diversity of our students," he said. "This building reminds that we are all here for one common purpose and that purpose is education."
The Williams Center will be utilized by future students, Nicholson added.
"Think of the future generations of Fredonians whose college careers are going to be brighter and they're going to be a lot happier as this place that we're celebrating today," he said.
The Williams Center has served as a "student hub" on campus for more than 60 years. The building was originally called the Campus Center until it was re-named in 1996 after H.K. Williams III, the former owner/publisher of the EVENING OBSERVER.
Following the ceremony, a ribbon-cutting was held with all speakers and representatives from various student organizations.
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