June deadline set for alums, community members to 'make their mark'

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
Graphic depicting completed Alumni Center.

The WMU Alumni Center is set to open Oct. 23.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—As construction crews race toward a fall completion of Western Michigan University's new Alumni Center atop Prospect Hill, members of the WMU and Kalamazoo communities can make their own mark on the facility by meeting a June 1 deadline to add their own or a loved one's name to the finished product.

Opportunities for individuals to celebrate their connections to the WMU legacy are available for inclusion in and around the center, which is scheduled to open Oct. 23. Those who make a commitment by June 1 will see their names and stories in place for the grand opening of the center.

"We see this space as a celebration not only of all the generations of students WMU has served, but also a celebration of the entire community's commitment to educational innovation and the value of education," says Jim Thomas, WMU vice president for development. "We believe people on campus and in the community will use these naming opportunities as a chance to honor a friend or loved one and note their own special ties to the campus that has served as a visual and cultural focal point for the city for more than a century." 

Ways to add a name

Thomas says there are three basic opportunities for including individual names in the new center:

  • An engraved 4-inch-by-8-inch brick paver for $100 that will be placed on the portico patio overlooking downtown Kalamazoo and can accommodate three lines of text with a maximum of 14 characters on each line.
  • A large, 12-inch-by-12-inch, brick paver for $500 will also will be used on the portico patio and will accommodate nine lines of text with up to 21 characters per line.
  • A formal spot on the interior donor wall of the building for $1,000 will offer donors inclusion of first and last names or a family name on one line with up to 40 characters.
    A donor wall naming commitment also includes the opportunity to share a story or memory for inclusion on an electronic interactive storyboard in the center.

"The storyboard is really the most important component of the project, as it will give donors a chance to share their personal stories," Thomas says.

Additional details and a link to make a commitment at any level can be found at bit.ly/1zOhoNA.

"Prospect Hill will be a gathering place for students, alumni and members of our community," Thomas says. "The addition of many names and stories will be a powerful and living tribute to our collective story. It will ensure visitors are continually reminded of this community's educational heritage—and the people who were at the heart of it. We believe that years from now, people will stroll around the building and spot the names of friends and colleagues who helped build this community."

About East Hall

East Hall, which is being renovated into the new WMU Alumni Center, is the birthplace of Western Michigan University. Dedicated in 1905, the facility overlooks the city of Kalamazoo and includes a columned portico facing the community, a lighted cupola and the University’s original administrative and instructional spaces.

East Hall and the 20 acres at the top of Prospect Hill were donated by the citizens of Kalamazoo to help secure for the city the new Western State Normal School, which later became Western Michigan University. The facade of North Hall, which was once home to the campus library, is part of the Prospect  Hill redevelopment project. Architectural elements of two other buildings once located on the original campus are being used in the new Alumni Center as well as in other building projects across the larger campus.

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