Reimagining Stockwell Library
Phase II of Albion College's Stockwell Memorial Library renovation project officially began with the announcement in April 2012 of a $1-million grant from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland. The foundation's gift anchors a $6.15-million fundraising campaign now under way for this landmark building on the Quad.
In November 2012, the Weatherwax Foundation joined in the project through its $250,000 gift.
Overall, the renovation will help ensure that Stockwell Library remains the "intellectual heart" of Albion College's campus -- but with a new high-tech touch.
"Our plan is to create in Stockwell Library a 21st-century learning center," said Albion College President Donna Randall. "This renovation will provide students and faculty with dynamic new spaces for teaching and learning throughout the building, and it will enhance access to a broad array of technology and academic services."
As part of a master plan adopted in 2010, Albion's Board of Trustees approved a multi-phase renovation of the library, which was constructed in 1938 with a gift from alumna Madelon Stockwell Turner. The first phase was completed in summer 2011 with the transformation of the library's first floor into Cutler Commons, a space featuring the latest technology, contemporary furnishings, and a café. The Commons, made possible by a major gift from Sandy and Sally Stark Cutler, '75, has already become a popular gathering spot for students and faculty.
Architectural planning for Phase II is complete, and renovation work will begin following the successful conclusion of the fundraising campaign. All of the library's four floors are slated to be redesigned to reflect new approaches to teaching, learning, and research. In addition, the electrical and mechanical infrastructure will be updated to support evolving technology needs. The books and other print materials in Stockwell will be moved to the adjacent Mudd building, and the existing stacks will be removed, making way for a four-story atrium filling Stockwell's interior with natural light.
Libraries of the future will provide faculty and students greater access to intellectual resources through the use of technology. One of the chief goals of the library project is to create more space for the training and support needed for students and faculty to gain the greatest benefit from information technology. In addition, many areas of the library will be reconfigured for group study, reflecting today's trends toward team projects and other collaborative work.
One of the most notable innovations coming in Phase II is a flexible space for experimental teaching and learning -- often called a 'sandbox' for new technology. A second area will be outfitted with advanced instructional technology supporting innovative approaches to teaching.
Reimagined as a comprehensive learning center, the library will also allow a dynamic collaboration among numerous academic services, including librarians, instructional technologists, media services, academic support and tutoring, and related programs such as the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity.
With the introduction of the Albion Advantage, which assists students in exploring and establishing their future career path, the College is expanding the identity and capacity of its Career and Internship Center. An important step in that process is to move the office into new and spacious quarters in the library and name the space the John S. Ludington Career and Internship Center, in memory of the 1951 Albion alumnus who was a longtime trustee and benefactor for the College.
"With rapid technological and economic changes taking place in the job market," observed President Randall, "we know we must adapt in order to provide students with the right tools and opportunities needed for their development as knowledgeable and skilled professionals. These enhancements in our career services will ensure that our students will continue to be competitive applicants for employment and graduate study and that they can chart a career path that is meaningful for them and for society."
To learn more about Phase II of the Stockwell Library campaign, please contact the Development Office at
, or call 517/629-0402.
Stockwell Library's Cutler Commons Project
View a video walk-through of Cutler Commons
The first floor of Stockwell Library and the bridge connecting Stockwell to the Mudd Learning Center have been transformed into Cutler Commons, an active learning space wired for the latest technology and featuring a full-service coffee bar. The renovations have been made possible by a leadership gift from Sally Stark Cutler, '75, and her husband, Sandy Cutler.
"This generous gift from Sally and Sandy Cutler and the support from our trustees allow us to move forward quickly on library improvements that have been in the planning stages for many months," says President Donna Randall. "We are literally redefining what our library should be and how it can better serve the entire campus community, and it's most gratifying to be taking this next step."
Among the project highlights:
Fluid work spaces have been created with modular furnishings, portable white boards, an interactive SMART board, and readily accessible data and power sources, designed "to accommodate different configurations and different learning styles," according to Provost Susan Conner.
The circulation and reference desks have moved from their current location in Mudd to the west end of Stockwell, creating a one-stop service area that will offer library instruction and resource help as well as laptop checkout and technical assistance.
Stockwell's front door is once again the main entrance to the library complex and leads directly into the Cutler Commons, underscoring the central role of this space.
A new, College-run café with full-service coffee bar features specialty beverages and fresh delicatessen-style offerings.
For further information on the Cutler Commons project, please see the College's original March 2011 news story as well as College coverage of the dedication ceremony on Oct. 7, 2011.
Fundraising is continuing in support of further improvements in Albion College's library facilities. For details on these future plans, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement via e-mail at
or by phone at 517/629-0446.
Branna Wyant, '12
Hometown: Cassopolis, Michigan
Majors: Communication Studies (Emphasis- Mass Media), Psychology Minor
Campus Activities: Alpha Xi Delta, Student Alumni Association, Mentoring at Harrington Elementary School
Why did you choose Albion?
Coming from a small high school I knew I wanted a college where I felt comfortable. More specifically, I didn't want to be overwhelmed with not being able to find my classes and being just a number in a classroom. My grandma, Darlene Lowe, went to Albion and always had wonderful things to say about it. Although she was only there for a short time, she still can remember the Io Triumphe! by heart, while I still can't pronounce the words. She encouraged my sister, Baily Wyant, to attend and graduate from Albion College in '09. With the help from both my grandma and my sister, I found it easy to see how perfect Albion was for me.
What is your best Albion memory or experience?
Throughout the four years at Albion I have made so many unforgettable memories. From joining a sorority my first year to going to my first Red Wings game my senior year, Albion has had a huge impact on my life. However, my personal favorite memory is my football homecoming my freshman year. I was a freshman and my sister was a senior, it was a bittersweet feeling for the both of us. It was a start of a new chapter for me while my sister was ending hers. We had family and friends come from all over the state to tailgate before the game. We had a great time eating, meeting new people, and reminiscing on all the good Albion times that I would soon get to experience for myself.
What are your future plans?
Up until graduation, I am trying to make the most of my senior year with all my friends. Graduation will be a bittersweet feeling. I do not want to leave Albion, but at the same time I am excited to see what the future will bring. After graduation I will take some time off to travel and apply to jobs. I may also apply for graduate school.
How have financial aid and scholarships helped you?
Albion College is very generous with their scholarships. Without the Presidential Scholarship, a scholarship I have been fortunate enough to receive every year, I may have never come to Albion. Also, the Albion Alumni Award has helped out greatly over the years.
Describe your experience in being an intern in the Office of Alumni Engagement
My experience at the Alumni Engagement office has been better than I could have imagined. Right from the beginning the whole office was welcoming and made me feel at home. I have been able to do a variety of things in the office, and have really felt like I'm a part of the team, not just an intern. My favorite part of the job is being able to connect with alumni and hearing about life at Albion College before I got here.
How would you finish this sentence: "Because you give to Albion, I'm able to ...
... I am able to witness and appreciate all the positive changes that have been happening to Albion College. Specifically, the Albion College Fund is important because the money goes toward what is needed the most. Because of donors, alumni, and parents, this fund helps maintain the prestigious image of the College and allows us to compete with other colleges.
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Kristen Chung, '13
Kristen Chung, '13, left, with sister Jacqueline Chung, '13
Name: Kristen Chung, '13
Hometown: Dubai, UAE
Major: Biology, minor in French
Activities: Tour guide, Smooth Transitions student mentor, membership coordinator for Best Buddies, public relations officer for the International Student Union (ISU), Student Alumni Association, FIT group coordinator and overnight host, peer advisor for international students.
Why did you choose Albion? Tell us about your path to Albion and what attracted you.
I chose Albion because of the admission director of international students, whom I had met in Dubai when I attended an American university fair. He was the nicest college representative and a perfect example of what Albion’s faculty and community are all about. I also liked the idea of FURSCA and having a one-on-one relationship with professors.
What is your best Albion memory or experience?
My best memory at Albion was when my friend (who is from the UP) invited my sister and me to her house in Kingsford to spend Thanksgiving with her family. I am glad that I said yes. If I had not, things would have turned out a lot differently today. They openly welcomed us into their family. Today the Rigonis are our second family. We like to refer to them as our “American Mom and Dad.” We have had the most wonderful Thanksgiving experiences. But more importantly we made a friend for life. Today my mom and Alicia’s mom correspond on a daily basis. They live in two different parts of the world but it feels like they have always known each other.
Then through Alicia we were able to become friends with her roommate (who is also from the UP) who introduced us to her family, the Tomasis, and whose family has become our other American family. We love them very much. We have seen so many places and done so many things in the U.S. because of their kindness and love and selflessness. I hope someday that I will be able to repay their kindness.
What are your future plans, at Albion and beyond?
I would like to pursue a career in health care and go to a graduate school in the U.S. Then when I have made enough money I would like to become one of Albion’s alumni donors. I would like to make my educational experience and leaning opportunity at Albion accessible to future students. Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of many of Albion College’s donors, I am able to have the best college experience ever.
How have financial aid and scholarships helped you?
Without financial aid and scholarships, many international students like myself would have found it very expensive and impossible to be able to study at Albion College and in the U.S. I would have been so disappointed if money was the factor that affected my ability to attend Albion College. I am as able-bodied and hard-working as other students who can afford a quality education. There are many students out in the world who would give anything to study in the U.S., but because they cannot afford it they miss out on the opportunity to be a part of a healthy learning environment where they can showcase their talents and be taught by some of the brightest minds, and ultimately get a good job and be able to be self-sufficient and independent.
How would you finish this sentence? “Because you (donors, alumni, parents) give to Albion, I’m able to…”
Because you give to Albion, I am able to have the best college experience and the highest quality of education. I have been given the opportunity to mature into a self- supporting and responsible individual. I am able to meet some of the cleverest and nicest people ever and learn so many things from them. I am able to live my dream of studying in the U.S. Thank you donors!
Please describe your experience as an international student.
One of my best experiences in being an international student at Albion was in my freshman year when I was chosen to read the pledge at our matriculation ceremony. It was a great feeling to stand up at the head of the beautiful Goodrich Chapel and take the oath along with my felllow graduating class of 2013. I was also the first student to sign my name in the book. I felt so special. If I could go back and do something all over again, it would have to be that.
I also love the fact that every Friday is International Coffee Hour where all the international students hang out with one another. I like learning about different cultures and I like teaching other people about my unique cultural background. With Albion College I visited Chicago and attended a Red Wings game in Detroit.
Learn about sister Jacqueline Chung's experience
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