Albion College's approach to teaching and learning has attracted attention from the Weatherwax Foundation of Jackson, Mich., which recently made a $250,000 gift in support of the renovation of the College's Stockwell Memorial Library. Reimagined as a 21st-century learning center, Stockwell will be transformed by expansive new digital collections, high-tech classrooms, powerful research technology, and spaces and services that foster personal, professional, and collaborative scholarship.
"We're excited and pleased that the Weatherwax Foundation continues to be a major supporter of Albion College," said College President Donna Randall. "Stockwell has long served as the intellectual heart of the College, and through this support we are going to ensure that our students and faculty have a dynamic, 21st-century learning center that will preserve the strong academic traditions of the past by providing the services, collaborative spaces and technology of the future."
In the fall of 2011, Albion College completed the first phase of the Stockwell renovations and opened Cutler Commons. Sally Stark Cutler, '75, and her husband, Sandy, provided major support for this popular new space, which includes numerous high-tech and collaborative work areas as well as the "Read Between the Grinds" café.
The Weatherwax gift supports the second and most extensive phase of the renovation of Stockwell. By digitizing and then relocating much of the physical book collection to compact shelving, the new floor plan of Stockwell Library will be a large, open atrium with several additional commons in which students can work and study both independently and in groups. In addition to the new common areas, an innovative "sandbox" classroom will house modern information and communication technologies and flexible room assembly, all of which will change the classroom setting from a "sage on the stage" format to a collaborative, high-tech and interactive learning environment. This new classroom space will be supported by the College's Center for Teaching & Learning, which has been a faculty-driven initiative to research and implement new pedagogy and tools for the classroom.
With the introduction of the Albion Advantage in 2010, the College has also branded and strengthened its promise to compliment liberal arts education with increased career readiness support. To fulfill this expressed commitment to Albion's students, it was decided to move the current career development office into a more visible and equipped space in Stockwell – the new office has been named 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. The Ludington Career and Internship Center will provide four-year career-readiness support to students and facilitate connections to alumni mentors, companies, and universities around the world with technologically-enhanced interview rooms, a workshop/presentation room, and professional space for recruiters and graduate school representatives.
The Weatherwax gift broadly supports the renovation of Stockwell and will help bring together these modern academic, experiential and professional learning opportunities. Complimented by support services and state-of-the-art technology, Stockwell Memorial Library will continue to be the intellectual heart of the College.
"The Weatherwax Foundation has supported the important mission of Albion College for almost two decades," says Foundation Chairman Lawrence L. Bullen. "Our institutions share a commitment to education and student success in our region of Michigan, and we are pleased to again partner with the College to accomplish both."
The Jackson, Michigan-based Weatherwax Foundation was established by Kenneth A. Weatherwax and his son, Peter A. Weatherwax, owners of Acme Industries and Paka Plaza, along with other enterprises. The foundation has a philanthropic focus on education, medical research, social agencies, regional municipalities and institutions promoting the arts. Previous Weatherwax Foundation gifts to Albion College supported a faculty development endowment, music department renovations and an extensive expansion and renovation of the College's science complex.