On a windy fall afternoon last month -- complete with a brilliant back-drop of autumn-colored trees -- Karen Wiley Sandler, chancellor of Penn State Abington, and invited guests dedicated the new Sutherland Building plaza. This newly renovated space is designed and landscaped to be the campus centerpiece that brings together classmates, colleagues, alumni and friends.
Abington Township local dignitaries and members of the college community gathered in celebration of the most significant architectural improvement to the Sutherland Building since it was designed by world-renowned Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer nearly a century ago.
Keynote speaker David Rowland, president of Old York Road Historical Society, reflected on the history of Sutherland Building, which started off as the home for the elite Ogontz School for Young Ladies. By quoting Abby Sutherland, principal and owner of the prestigious girls school from 1912 until she gave the property to Penn State in 1950, Rowland passed along a fitting legacy to this new gathering place.
"Care for this place. Love it. Guard here the spirit of the best of your dreams of education. These buildings, these grounds are our heritage. Love them and care for them jealously as your school's home and alma mater."
Three representatives from Penn State Abington,Peter Capelotti, chair of the Abington College faculty senate, Deborah Ball, chair of the staff advisory council, and Student Government President Brian Martinowich, each rang the ceremonial school bell two times. The six rings signified the six decades that Penn State has occupied the wooded Abington campus.
As Sandler noted in her closing remarks, this beautiful renovation is only the first part of a two phase project. A handicap access entrance on the north side of Sutherland Building is scheduled to be completed by early 2011 -- making "this beautiful building more accessible and more inviting in both a practical and aesthetic way."
To view a video of the event, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3j9EJItmco