The University of Maine at Presque Isle will mark the 20th anniversary of a campus building that has served as a major hub for student activities, community events, and cultural programs in the region by hosting its Campus Center 20th Celebration, to be held on Thursday, Oct. 25 from 4-6 p.m. The campus and community are invited to attend this free event.
This open house event will include guided building tours, live music provided by local artists, giveaways, door prizes, and an appetizer showcase by ARAMARK. In addition, the UMPI Bookstore will offer a 20 percent discount on selected merchandise. Guests visiting campus are eligible for a Grand Prize of discounted catering and facilities.
"We're very excited to be celebrating the important role our Campus Center has served here at UMPI and in the community over the last two decades," UMPI President Linda Schott said. "We encourage everyone to stop by and take some time to walk through the facility, enjoy the food and music, and celebrate this special event with us."
The Campus Center, which opened its doors in October 1992, was originally conceived as a student center with a variety of spaces to host many different types of activities, from meetings and workshops to banquets and other social gatherings. Over the years, thousands of people have utilized the facility; it has become a central location for student events, cultural activities, and state and regional meetings and conferences, and it is home to the Owl's Nest, the Reed Fine Art Gallery, the Student Senate office, a University Credit Union branch, the Campus Communications Center, the UMPI Bookstore, a local day care center, and the campus' dining facilities.
"So much history and so many events have taken place inside the Campus Center," Mary Lawrence, UMPI's Coordinator of Conferences and Special Program, said. Lawrence has worked in the building since its opening. "We've seen state officials, astronauts, ambassadors, and international groups pass through our doors. But the really wonderful thing about the Campus Center is that we're here, day in and day out, for our students and our community so they get the meeting and event spaces they need in order to get their important work done."
The Campus Center was built with funding from three main sources: through donations from community members and businesses, through a bond issue, and through a yearly student fee. It was connected seamlessly to the existing campus building Kelley Commons, which was built in 1967 and dedicated to the first matron of the school, Miss Mary E. Kelley. Kelley Commons houses the large, and recently redesigned, dining hall located on the second floor, which can seat up to 300 people at a time.
The Campus Center has two defining features aside from its graceful lines and arches – it is capped by a white cupola and it showcases a significant work of art at one of its main entrances. To the north of the building stand six white walls – a work of art created in 1992 by Portland artist Robert Hoover and funded by the state's Percent for Art Program. Through the program, one percent of the cost of any public building in Maine is set aside for a work of art to be installed in or around the building. Hoover's hope was that people would discover and enjoy the work in their own way and that the art would serve as a spot for students to meet, work, and study.
"It's amazing how the Campus Center has been able to serve so many different groups and organizations over the years," said Charles Bonin, UMPI's Vice President for Administration and Finance. Bonin oversaw campus efforts to make the building a reality. "Not just our students, but our community and region have really embraced it and utilized it to its fullest. We'll be celebrating that on Oct. 25 and we plan to keep up that good work for the next 20 years."