The places that inspire us

Centennial Hall and Berky Hall

I hope this issue of the magazine inspired you to reflect on campus places that have inspired you as a student, alumnus or visitor. My short list includes a number of places that had a profound impact on my education and personal growth through the interplay of physical surroundings and the students and faculty I shared experiences with.

During my undergraduate years, 3-D art classes were taught in the “art barn,” a repurposed egg and poultry barn located approximately where Sauder Art Center now stands. While I wasn’t an art major, this unique and quirky structure was a place that embodied and encouraged all students to be creative and stretch boundaries, practices that served us well regardless
of major or professional direction. And of course, Darvin Luginbuhl, professor of art (1958-84) the most important inspirational ingredient with his unique blend of instruction, storytelling and humor.

I also have special memories of history classes in the attic classroom in College Hall. Its sloping ceilings, dormers and creaky floor boards created a fitting stageset for Professor Von Hardesty’s lectures and discussions about writers, thinkers and ideas from European intellectual history. And of course, with the fire escape window left slightly open, this classroom provided a great place for “inspirational” late night student conversations as well.

When Centennial Hall opened, I had an office there for several years and came to appreciate the variety of classroom  configurations in one building designed to support a wide range of teaching and learning approaches. Now in its 16th year of service, our academic center is serving students and faculty well including video conferencing. In other words, outstanding design is essential to places that inspire and Centennial Hall and the Sommer Center, our first LEED-certified building have established a new benchmark for future facilities.

As I write this message, spring has arrived in full bloom on campus. It is a season to take breaks from email and walk the meandering paths, to look closely at the wildflowers in the wooded areas around the lagoon or to pause on the bridges that cross the Riley Creek. From these vantage points you can track the ripples over rocks and keep an eye out for the pair of wood
ducks that occasionally skim over the water’s surface. The creek connects Bluffton to the river, the sea and the world and the water flows through campus like Bluffton’s mission. At the end of the day, I can’t think of a better or more inspiring place to be.

Thank you for your past, present and future support of Bluffton’s mission, students and a place that inspires.