The University of Hartford broke ground on June 6 for a two-story, 10,000-square-foot addition to Hillyer Hall that will provide Hillyer College with much-needed faculty offices, state-of-the-art classrooms, a dedicated seminar classroom, a conference room, and a large common area.
The addition will be known as the Shaw Center at Hillyer College in recognition of lead donors John "Jay" Shaw A'74 and Debi Shaw, who made a gift of $1.5 million to the project. Bank of America also provided support for the addition with a $250,000 grant.
"This is a chance for us to give back to an institution that was transformative in my life."
—John 'Jay' Shaw
Hillyer Hall, which was built in 1962, was the first classroom building to be constructed on the University's campus. The addition will enlarge a facility that was originally built to accommodate about 100 students but now squeezes in more than 600 students and has three times the number of faculty that taught in the building when it was first built.
The groundbreaking was a major milestone in a four-year capital campaign to raise the approximately $4 million that will be needed to build the addition. The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2012. At the ceremony David Goldenberg, Hillyer College dean, thanked the many alumni, faculty, staff, and members of the corporate community for their donations and support of the project.
"This project is much more than a structure to support Hillyer College. It will also create state-of-the-art classrooms that are designed for use by all students of the University of Hartford."
— Hillyer Dean David Goldenberg
Among the features of the Shaw Center will be a spacious common area, known as the Learning Commons, that will encourage interaction among students, faculty, and staff. The Shaw Center will also provide faculty members with badly needed private office space.
"Having private offices means we can hold conferences with our students without competing with other voices over the wall. . . . The Learning Commons will encourage a more spontaneous learning experience, where students can ‘drop in' to lectures, window-shopping for the topics that interest them."
— Associate Professor of English Michele Troy
Characterizing the significance of the Shaw Center, Goldenberg said, "By creating a facility open to all parts of the University, with state-of-the-art classrooms and a welcoming Learning Commons, we are harkening back to a time when Hillyer Hall was the place where all University students went to attend class. Some things have a way of circling around to our roots."
The capital campaign for the Shaw Center at Hillyer College will continue until the building addition is complete in spring 2012. The goal is in sight, but we still need your support.