The Wire @ WPI Online
VOLUME 13, NO. 3     June 2001

The dream, realized

From left, Ronald L. Zarrella ’71, chairman of the WPI Board of Trustees, Ernest DiMicco ’01, former president of the Student Government Association, Richardson, Frank Weber, former president of the Graduate Student Organization, and Parrish cut a ribbon to symbolize the building’s opening.

Tours of the building

The magic of mentalist Craig Karges

A debate between the WPI Legal and Social Issues Group, and the Cambridge Union Debating Society

The dedication by Ronald A. Zarrella ’71 of the William R. Grogan Student Activities Wing

In the time-lapse video shown at the dedication of the new Campus Center, the building seems to burst from the ground while an army of workers hurriedly wraps it in sheetrock, insulation and bricks--all in three minutes. In reality, of course, it took 18 months of work by 35 subcontractors to construct the 71,000-square foot structure, and nearly a century to realize the dream of having a true center for social life at WPI.

To celebrate the opening of what President Edward Alton Parrish has aptly called "the most anticipated building in WPI history," the University held a weeklong housewarming with events and social occasions for the entire campus community.

The week concluded on March 30 with a formal dedication ceremony in the Odeum, the large multipurpose room on the building’s upper level.

Dean of Student Life Janet Begin Richardson chaired a committee of faculty, students, staff and trustees that helped develop the program for the Campus Center and choose its location in the heart of the campus, just off Reunion Plaza and the West Street pedestrian walkway. She marveled at how the community quickly adopted the new structure. "You have given the building the highest praise," she said to about 1,000 community members who came for the kickoff, "that is, using it as if it has always been here."

After the dedication, guests moved throughout the building enjoying a wide variety of food and activities, including posing for caricatures, making spin-art Frisbees, and having pictures of themselves applied to Campus Center mugs. The event capped a busy week that had seen receptions for student leaders, faculty, staff and major donors, and a wealth of entertainment, including performances by WPI student musical groups and appearances by a mentalist, folk and hip hop bands, and the Cambridge Union Debating Society.

The building houses the campus bookstore, Tatnuck Bookseller@WPI, offices for student life. student activities, events and Campus Center staffs, offices for student publications and organizations, dining facilities, meeting rooms, a game room, and the campus mail center. It actually opened for business a week before the grand opening celebration.

To find out more about the new building, visit

A folk music concert

A performance by piano virtuoso Sergio Salvatore ’03

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Last modified: Jul 05, 2001, 16:25 EDT