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East Hall Dedication Celebrates Generosity of Alumni

East Hall

As grape-sized raindrops fed the sedum and chives planted atop East Hall, trustees, alumni, and other guests gathered inside on Oct. 16 for the official dedication of WPI's new "green" residence hall.

The dedication also was a celebration of the generosity of three trustees—Judy Nitsch '75 and her husband Tony Magliozzi; Bob Martin '75 and his wife, Randie; and Jack Shields '69 (SIM) and his wife, Judy—for whom several areas of the building were named.

"One of the things I am proudest about in this building is that it really represents the complete picture of what we are doing at WPI in supporting the development of our students," President Dennis D. Berkey said during opening remarks.

The building includes project rooms where small groups of students can meet and collaborate which, the president pointed out, reflects the academic philosophy of WPI. The fitness center, technology suites, music room, hi-speed Internet service, and state-of-the-art security system were lauded for their roles in creating a well-rounded WPI student.

"This is a really exciting time for WPI. We've already taken the bold strides necessary to secure our place in the leadership position in science and technology education," said Dexter Bailey, vice president for development and alumni relations. "Like WPI's founders John Boynton and Ichabod Washburn, our current leaders have stepped forward in the building of East Hall and met the challenge of continuing to do the work that needs to be done to help to preserve this institution."

East Hall represents a vital fund-raising priority for WPI—development of campus facilities that support students and faculty in their pursuit of solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the world today. The university plans to raise $90 million for facilities development aimed at labs, classrooms, the Gordon Library, and a new sports and recreation center, among other areas of campus. With the generous support of a $6 million grant from the George I. Alden Trust, renovations are already underway at Goddard Hall to form the new Undergraduate Life Sciences Laboratories.

East Hall is another symbol of WPI's commitment to sustainability. The $52 million project is the university's second green building; Bartlett Center, dedicated in 2006, was the first. East Hall is awaiting final LEED certification, which is anticipated to be at the gold level.

At the dedication, Bailey presented a photo plaque to Judy Nitsch and her husband, Tony Magliozzi, as a token of thanks for their contributions toward East Hall's palletized green roof. In an almost prophetic twist to the day, the rain outside was an opportunity for the roof's stormwater monitoring system to measure the amount and quality of runoff controlled by the green roof. One-third of the roof is palletized and will provide students and faculty future opportunities to study plant materials best suited for such roofs.

"Only someone who chairs the Board of Trustees Facilities Committee would want to fund a roof," Nitsch joked during her acceptance speech. On a serious note, she said, "As I've found in recent meetings, you have to find something that a person is interested in and nab them.  To have a green roof named after me means a lot, so I really appreciate it."

Nitsch is the founder and owner of Nitsch Engineering, and the first alumna member of the WPI Board of Trustees.

Bailey presented another plaque to Randie and Bob Martin. The Martins provided support for two areas in the building—the first floor conference room and the courtyard. The conference room is named in honor of the Martins, and the courtyard is named for Randie Martin's father, Edward D. Chase '34.

Martin currently serves on the WPI Board of Trustees and is the immediate past chairman of the President's Circle, WPI's leadership group of annual donors. He is a senior product executive with more than 30 years of experience and an entrepreneur who has helped start three technology companies, two of which had successful IPOs.

"This is quite an honor," Martin said. "My wife and I thought about the students of WPI and how this is a great way to express the gift that was given to me and to Randie's dad by attending WPI."

Trustee Jack Shields and his wife, Judy, who were unable to attend the ceremony, were honored for their financial support of one of the technology suites in the building.

October 16, 2008

Contact: Judith Jaeger, Director of Advancement Publications, +1-508-831-5962, jjaeger@wpi.edu

 
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