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Rededication of Westlake a timely celebration

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Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, the newly renovated Westlake is six times its previous size and blends original architectural elements — limestone walls, copper gutters, the barrel ceiling — with cutting-edge technology and enhanced teaching and learning spaces.

BARBARA BITTING GURTLER ’55 and her husband Homer admire the 107-year-old sundial on display in Westlake’s atrium. The timepiece, which previously was on the front lawn of Horology Hall, has a sister in Peoria’s Luthy Botanical Garden.

For 115 years, Westlake Hall housed countless activities and classes for thousands of Bradley students. As the second building to be erected on campus, it was beloved by generations of alumni. Yet, with the launch of the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance came an opportunity to make Westlake a place “where tomorrow’s educators and health care professionals prepare to succeed in a technologically accelerated world.” In September 2010, the University began a two-year $24 million redesign and renovation project that culminated with a rededication ceremony on October 12, 2012.

“Today, we celebrate persistence and a vision that was too powerful to deny, a vision to provide our students with the absolute finest learning environment for teaching the next generation of teachers,” President Joanne Glasser told the crowd. “The expansion and renovation of Westlake had to respect not only the original design but Mrs. Bradley as well. We’ve done that. History lives in Westlake.”

Dr. Joan L. Sattler, dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, provided insight into the function and structure of the upgraded building: “This premiere academic facility is designed for engaged learning, for a project-based approach to learning, and for collaborative learning across disciplinary lines.” 

Special education major MICHAEL ADAIR ’13 shared a student’s perspective: “To quote my dear Dr. Kevin Finson (co-director
of the Center for STEM Education), ‘It’s like the Taj Mahal.’ I believe it is not only like the Taj Mahal in aesthetics and design but also in the way that it allows students to take advantage of some of the latest technological tools.”

Online

Visit bradley.edu/go/ht-whrededication for a video of the rededication ceremony. For details on all the building’s enhancements, visit bradley.edu/go/ht-oldandnew.

The No. 1 watch produced by the Peoria Watch Co. was an unusually high-grade model that was presented to its major stockholder Joseph P. Greenhut in the late 1880s. The factory’s eventual closing opened the door for Lydia Moss Bradley, who made it the home of Parson’s Horological Institute before the completion of Westlake Hall.

Bradley Trustee Doug Stewart presented two timepieces to the University. The first was a sundial constructed by horology professor Grant Hood in 1905. Stewart explained that it had been off the campus for more than 50 years, passing through several hands before it was repurchased in 2011. The second artifact was the No. 1 watch created by the Peoria Watch Co., which preceded Bradley’s horology school. “This watch has survived more than 125 years, and it remains in excellent condition.” Today, the items are on display in the Westlake atrium, where they both still keep accurate time.

Fireworks and the singing of Hail, Red and White concluded the ceremony, after which attendees were encouraged to explore the building. 

“Our iconic Westlake Hall clock tower continues to beckon us, ‘A new generation is coming. It’s time to get ready. We have a legacy to pass on,’” Sattler said. “Our students are ready to meet the future.”

– Clara Miles, MA ’05

 


 

New Pi Phi house opens on Greek Row

Danielle Weissman, Madisen Manning, Alex Savas, Jennifer Sharron, and Colleen Geraghty moved into the new Pi Beta Phi house last August with 28 sorority sisters.

More than 200 alumnae and nearly 100 collegians crowded into the lower level of the new Pi Beta Phi chapter house for its formal dedication on October 13, 2012. Alumnae from Boston to Portland, Oregon, traveled to Peoria for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, lunch, and tours of the house at 621 N. Institute. 

“All of us are very pleased to see the new Pi Phi house open and operational on the campus,” said GARY ANNA ’75, Bradley vice president for business affairs. “That members of Illinois Theta have been able to fulfill this dream is a beautiful testament to patience, persistence, and philanthropy.”  

Debbie Lutz Boller, Peggy Gerber Schoneman, and Barbara Bulman Sullivan, all 1969 graduates, reminisce at the dedication of the new chapter house on October 13, 2012.

Pi Beta Phi sisters chatted on the front porch of their house at Main and Institute in this 1950s-era photograph.

JEANNE KROUSE BLISS ’69 chaired the campaign, with PHYLLIS SHARP ’67, LINDA MORSE ’67, and CHERI RABER PATTERSON ’67 holding key roles on the large committee. The recent phase of the campaign raised about $550,000 from almost 350 Pi Beta Phi donors and families.

The journey across Main Street began more than 20 years ago for the Illinois Theta chapter. “It was gratifying for the University to be able to locate a building site and then see the membership make it happen,” Anna said. 

STEPHANIE RUMP MUNO ’91, president of the chapter’s House Corporation, managed the construction of the 15,000-square-foot residence, now the college home for 33 members and their house director. It is the first new construction of a sorority house at Bradley since Alpha Chi Omega in 1981. Fredonia Avenue now has 15 Greek houses.

– Gayle Erwin McDowell ’77 
Photography by Duane Zehr