President’s Blog › Neville Hall: Then and Now

Posted in: From the desk of the president | March 17, 2014

Our seniors are in the final stretch of their college matriculation. I had the pleasure of visiting with a group of them during the Senior Campaign Wine and Cheese reception. The shared excitement about future careers and graduate school is contagious. I am looking forward to next month’s Honors Symposium where many will present their academic research.

March 17 Web Conference

Highlights for the week included sharing the Facilities Master Plan with faculty, staff, and students. The College will share the plan again through a web conference on March 17 at Noon EST. You can watch it live, or see the recording that will be posted on the Facilities Master Plan website. The College is looking forward to input from our constituents so that a final plan can be developed and implemented.

This week the local newspapers began running a monthly column where I will share news about the college with the Clinton and Laurens County communities. The inaugural column featured information about Charles Wellford Leavitt, PC’s first master planner.

He also was one of the faculty members who started a landscape architectural program at Columbia University in New York City. Leavitt was an interesting man. It was in the early 1900s when Leavitt—a noted landscape architect, civil engineer and urban planner—designed the front of Presbyterian College’s campus with a quad anchored at one end by Broad Street and the other end by Neville Hall. There does not appear to have been a significant push to expand the campus beyond Neville at that time.

With the exception of the columns located in the alumni area, the basic plan design by Mr. Leavitt was implemented. While the buildings are not identical to what Mr. Leavitt proposed, they are located in approximately the same areas set out by him.

We are fortunate to once again have an opportunity to focus on the campus and to develop a Facilities Master Plan. The difference is that we are focused today on renovating buildings rather than building new buildings.

Facilities Master Plan Areas of Focus

Our goal is to meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff. There will be three areas that initially will receive attention: student housing, classroom space and faculty offices. While we will want to modernize the facilities, we also want to remain true to our heritage. For this reason, a historical architect has been hired as a consultant to make sure that we retain consistency with the initial architectural designs. Unlike in the past when we totally modified the outside of a building, this time we will work hard to maintain the architectural design and integrity of the external features of every structure on campus.

Our first objective is to work to enhance Neville Hall. This is our campus icon, and it deserves special care. It should be noted that Neville is the home of multiple departments and serves as the classroom space for approximately 25 percent of the classes offered by the College. This initiative will address two of our needs: better classroom space and better faculty offices. A firm will be hired to develop an architectural design for Neville based on the comments we have received and will receive.

While Neville Hall is important, we do not want to forget student housing. The first effort at improving student facilities will be to enhance housing choices on campus for our juniors and seniors. We are evaluating different types of housing alternatives that reflect student preferences and connect them more to the heart of our campus.

These are exciting times for the College. I hope that you will participate in learning about and providing input for the Facilities Master Plan. The Board of Trustees wants to ensure that they hear and evaluate your comments about the new master plan.

Student Accomplishments

If you are on campus in the next few weeks, please stop by the Harper Gallery and see the Senior Art Exhibit featuring the works of Jennifer Marshall, Wippawadee Naiyakhum, and Joshua Polk. Fran and I were pleased so that many students and community members supported these seniors by joining the three for the opening exhibit reception held Friday.

On Saturday, I enjoyed welcoming runners, joggers and walkers of all ages to the second annual March on Health 5K run organized by the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy student Michael Cohen. More than 80 registered for the race. I enjoyed seeing our pharmacy students, staff, and faculty joining together for the race. One sponsor, Jairo Padilla, brought his entire family and the Senor Garcia Mexican Restaurant staff to participate in the run for health. Be sure and see pictures posted to the PC Facebook page.

The School of Pharmacy also sponsored the health fair at the Clinton YMCA following the run. I am proud to see all facets of the campus carrying out our motto, Dum Vivimus Servimus.

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