70,000 alumni, one home

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By Abby Rhodes
October 16, 2011

Historically a time for honoring old traditions on old stomping grounds, Homecoming this year found alumni reveling in the new – striking new facilities surrounded by pristine, freshly sown grounds.

The centerpiece of this celebration was the recently completed Hayden-Clark Alumni Center, a marvelous new home-away-from-home for Bradley’s 70,000 alumni. The alumni center was dedicated Oct. 15 during an official University ceremony and open house.

“This is where alumni will unite in pride, and where students and alumni will bond in tradition,” said Shelly Heiden, president of the Bradley University Alumni Association. “This is where we will forever find lifelong support and services, and where the question, ‘What can I do to help my alma mater?’ can be answered.”

The three-story, 34,700-square-foot masterpiece was a project eight years in the making and the latest product of Bradley’s Renaissance Campaign. It is not only a place for alumni and friends to gather and reminisce but an interactive walk down memory lane. Museum-like display cases in the Hall of Pride bring Bradley’s rich history to life, showcasing the accomplishments of students, faculty and athletic programs, decade by decade.

“I believe our Hall of Pride will be the connection our alumni have always sought because it will reflect our common experiences from the Hilltop,” said Bradley President Joanne Glasser. “Looking forward, I believe thousands and hundreds of thousands of new memories are waiting behind these doors.”

Light boxes illuminate miniature replicas of residence hall rooms through the years. From the 1940s to the present day, the incredibly accurate representations show electronics getting smaller and bottled sodas traded for aluminum cans. Computer stations invite alumni to search for old friends, roommates or former sweethearts. Touch-screen maps trace Bradley’s history topographically.

The second floor is where Alumni Relations staff will work year-round to keep alumni connected, with each other and to the University. On the third floor, a beautiful ballroom and terrace overlooking the lush west quad will be the venue for many special events to come.

The dedication ceremony provided the campus community a grand opportunity for gratitude – to the architects, construction personnel, visionaries and generous donors who created this striking monument to former and future students.

“There are two couples, in particular, who helped make this dream come true – the Haydens and the Clarks,” said Bradley President Joanne Glasser. “Bob and Kathleen Clark and Jerry and Marilyn Hayden will forever be linked on our campus, to our alumni and to every person who enters this wonderful edifice. The Hayden-Clark Alumni Center stands before you today because of their generosity and their love for our University.”