Early Friday morning, the Emory & Henry community gathered outside of the newly renovated Ampersand Center for its Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
The building that is now the Ampersand Center has experienced many different projects and renovations over the years, including its time period as the Black Box Theater, an infirmary, a bookstore, cafeteria, and dormitory.
President Jake Schrum attended the ceremony and personally thanked all of the early adopters of the project, along with anyone who helped aid the idea of Ampersand.
“Students and staff alike want to be here and connect here,” Schrum said. President Schrum gave a great thanks to the Bondurant, Bishop, and Tate families on behalf of E&H. Each were donors and together underwrote the entire cost of the renovations of the Ampersand Center, thereby making it possible.
Carolee Bondurant was also in attendance, and she spoke about her experience throughout the Ampersand project. Carolee first came to Emory in 1970. Her in-laws met in the 1940’s at E&H. She told those gathered that her in-law’s believed in a liberal arts education, in making a difference in the world, and making connections with people.
“Every time I talk about the Ampersand Project, project based learning, making connections, and using creativity, which is– you know–my thing. That’s what I’m best at and I’m so glad this has happened,” said Bondurant. A room in the Ampersand Center has been named the Bondurant Connection Room in dedication to the Bondurant family.
Dr. Tracy Lauder, newly appointed Ampersand Director, began the ceremony by explaining what the Ampersand Center does in regards to the life of the students and their experiences at E&H.
“Ampersand is our student experience where students connect what they care about to what they are learning, then design and implement projects that contribute to our community and our world,” said Lauder.
The Ampersand Center faculty consists of: Amanda Gardner, Director of Career Services, who connects students to faculty members, graduate schools, alumni, employers, and more; and Joe Vess, Ampersand Advisor and Programs Coordinator, who takes students ideas and helps bring them to life, works with faculty, staff and students on project development and administrates the students grants program and the eportfolio initiative. Lauder recognized the students who were present, encouraging guests to get to know them and ask them what they are working on.
Colin Foley, a sophomore athletic training major from Chesapeake, Va was able to speak at the event as well as Ellie Hogg, a senior English major from Berea, Ky. They each shared projects in which they were working on that were personal to them, but also that will serve others in the world.
President Schrum was sure to underline the importance of the Ampersand Center during the ceremony. “Its significance to our students and the college’s entire educational enterprise going forward cannot be underestimated. The liberal arts and sciences have been the foundation of an Emory & Henry education since the college’s beginning.”
– Kimberly Chapman