Washburn University will open its new "front door" on Friday when it dedicates the newly expanded and renovated Morgan Hall.
The building -- home to the main administrative offices along with a number of classrooms -- got a $17 million dollar facelift, which added 28,400 square feet. The additional space houses a special center that allows students to complete most of their admissions, enrollment and financial transactions in a single stop. It also includes a student lounge and study space, featuring an indoor/outdoor fireplace.
The front of the building now boasts Ichabod Plaza paved with personalized bricks. The plaza will feature an Ichabod mascot statue as the centerpiece of the entryway. The bronze statue weighs a little more than 600 pounds and stands seven feet tall. It was modeled after the Mr. Ichabod mascot, originally designed by alumnus and famed graphic designer Bradbury Thompson in 1938. That statue was a gift of the Washburn University Foundation Board of Trustees, who will unveil it at 10:30 a.m.
A second sculpture made possible by a generous gift from Dale and Susan Pond – Confluence of Love and Learning – will be dedicated as part of the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the grand re-opening of the building. The 3:30 p.m. dedication is part of Washburn's 150th birthday celebration, which continues throughout Grand Homecoming weekend.
Confluence is a gift of noted artist Rita Blitt, who recently made a major contribution to Washburn’s Mulvane Art Museum. The 12 foot tall, 2,700 pound sculpture stands along the front of Morgan Hall, facing 17th Street and helps frame the building’s expanded entrance.
Prior to the ribbon cutting, from noon to 3:30 p.m. throughout campus, 28 different academic departments and offices will host open houses. Alumni are encouraged to visit with favorite professors, enjoy snacks and in some cases, discipline-specific mini-workshops. Get the details at http://www.washburn.edu/homecoming.
Immediately following the Morgan Hall dedication, events move to the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center for Washburn After Hours, including hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. Guests are encouraged to bid on specially decorated top hats in support of the United Way of Greater Topeka from 4 until 7 p.m. Washburn After Hours is free for members of the Washburn Alumni Association and $5 for everyone else.
At 7 p.m. in Lee Arena, Petro Allied Health Center, the Washburn Ichabods host a volleyball match against the Pittsburg State Gorillas.
The evening's finale will be a special pep rally and bonfire, at 8 p.m. behind the Henderson Learning Resources Center, in anticipation of Saturday's homecoming football game.
Earlier plans had included unveiling of a statue of Ichabod Washburn in downtown Topeka, but that event has been rescheduled for later in the fall. Details will be announced as soon as they are finalized.
For further information, including a list of events for Saturday, which begin at 7:30 a.m., go to www.washburn.edu/homecoming.