Shown (from left) are: Yonkers city council member Mike Breen; state assemblywoman Shelley Mayer; Bronxville mayor Mary Marvin; Christina Tanzola (’19); Sarah Lawrence board member Mark Goodman; Sarah Lawrence president Cristle Collins Judd; Kendal Flowerdew (‘19); Yonkers mayor Mike Spano; deputy Westchester County executive Ken Jenkins; Yonkers city councilman Michael Sabatino; Yonkers planning commissioner Wilson Kimball; Charles Lesnick, representative for govenor Andrew Cuomo; and Yonkers city councilman David Tubiolo.
Yonkers, NY Sarah Lawrence College broke ground on the construction of a $35 million Campus Center, named in honor of esteemed alumna Barbara Walters who donated the lead gift of $15 million for the construction of the donor-funded building. The center will include the Barbara Walters Gallery for exhibitions of fine art and the Barbara Walters Archives and Reading Room.
The environmentally-friendly 34,800 s/f center, designed by KSS Architects, will serve as a gathering place for students, faculty, and staff with lounges, dining and event facilities, a magnet for intellectual, cultural, and social life. The enhanced event space will also enable the college to offer more opportunities to welcome members of the local community to campus. The center is expected to open in the fall of 2019.
At the ceremony marking the start of construction president of the college, Cristle Collins Judd said that the new center will be a dedicated nexus for social, curricular and co-curricular engagement. “The crossroads of Kimball Ave. and Glen Washington Rd. will now act as our “front door,” presenting a welcoming face to the world and...the possibility of a deeper sense of engagement within the college and for our college with our surrounding community. This center will create a civic space and a cultural anchor at a time when we, as a society, face a pressing need for opportunities to foster open conversation, to foster listening, to create and forge bonds of community.”
Judd publicly thanked Walters, who could not join the groundbreaking festivities, for her gift that allowed the center to become the central plank of the college’s fundraising campaign. She relayed a message from her: “...this is a very exciting time not just for the college but for the community. We can look ahead to a place of study, contemplation, and socializing that will be a focus that the college has not had before…”
Mayor Mike Spano, who said it was “another great day for the city with another groundbreaking,” that he is “proud of the ongoing partnership with Sarah Lawrence,” pointing to a number of recent collaborations. “The Barbara Walters Campus Center is an extension of our growing partnership. It is very fitting this center will be named in honor of one of the College’s most famous graduates. Throughout her career, Barbara Walters engaged her audiences with in-depth and insightful interviews. She connected us. This building...will serve as a center for engagement and connect our communities. It will be a place where people can gather, unite, and make a difference. My wish for this center is that Sarah Lawrence uses it to enhance its outreach and that it become not only a campus center, but a center for all.”
Claiming Sarah Lawrence as Bronxville’s own too (the college is located in Yonkers but with a Bronxville postal address) mayor Mary Marvin said, “Sarah Lawrence has been for us in Bronxville a beacon for intellectual and cultural life in our community. With the increased capacity for presenting and hosting public events, the Barbara Walters Campus Center will make the College, I believe, even more of a local treasure…[that] will build on the long and historic relationship between Sarah Lawrence and Bronxville. I know it will provide opportunities for the young and not so young from the college and Yonkers, Bronxville and surrounding communities to engage more with each other and I hope to be a stronger, more robust bridge between town and gown, Bronxville and Yonkers.
Concluding the program was a ceremonial groundbreaking with the speakers, who included chair of the board of trustees Mark Goodman and students Kenal Flowerdew ’19 and Christina Tanzola MA’19 as well as assemblymember Shelley Mayer, city council members Michael Sabatino and Mike Breen, deputy county executive Ken Jenkins, commissioner of planning and development Wilson Kimball, county legislator David Tubiolo and former city council president Chuck Lesnick representing governor Andrew Cuomo.