Students to kick off Armstrong Student Center groundbreaking

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The Armstrong Student Center.
For more than a decade, Miami University's student body fueled the movement for a new student center. When ground was broken for the Armstrong Student Center on Oct. 6, 2011, that student effort was at the heart of the celebration.

The groundbreaking event took place in the hub area of Miami’s campus, followed by a post-event reception at Schiewetz Fine Arts Plaza.

Approximately 150 representatives of Miami’s more than 400 student-led groups began the event by processing down Slant Walk with ceremonial buckets of dirt used in the groundbreaking. According to Student Body President Nick Huber, who spoke at the groundbreaking along with student trustee Matt Shroder, the symbolism is fitting.

“From the ground up, the effort behind the Armstrong Student Center has been inspired by Miami students,” Huber said. “It would not have been possible without the leadership of President David Hodge nor the generosity of Mike and Anne Armstrong and the more than 8,000 other Miamians who have contributed to make it a reality, but for nearly a decade, the perseverance of Miami’s students kept this dream alive.”

Miami’s board of trustees approved planning for what would become the Armstrong Student Center in April 2008. This came after a string of student body presidents, dating back more than a decade, presented resolutions supporting a new student center. In honor of that effort, several of those former student body presidents were in attendance at the event.

“Our identity, the core of Miami has always been the engaged student,” said President David Hodge. “The Armstrong Student Center will provide students with the opportunity to come together in one place to exercise leadership, to learn from one another, and to blend their academic and co-curricular lives in a way that adds to their success and leads new generations of Miami alumni to look back and say ‘these were the best four years of my life.’”

Those who have invested in Miami’s students through gifts to the Armstrong Student Center were also celebrated throughout the day. Mike and Anne Armstrong, 1961 Miami graduates whose $15 million leadership gift named the Armstrong Student Center, were joined by many other major donors. They included the David Shade (1966) Family, which named the Shade Family Room; 1970 graduates Richard and Emily Smucker, who named the Richard and Emily Smucker Wiikiaami Room; 1958 graduates Roger and Stephany Joslin, who named Joslin Family Terrace; and Sue Henry (1973), who named the Sue Henry and Carter Phillips Student Activities Suite.

Scheduled for first-phase completion in 2014, the Armstrong Student Center has been designed by William Rawn Associates with an emphasis on bringing students together. Located across Spring Street from Shriver Center and bordering Upham Hall and Bishop Woods to the north, the 203,000 square-foot Armstrong Student Center project includes the renovation and repurposing of Gaskill, Rowan, and Culler Halls, which will be merged through the construction of a new central structure. Its signature spaces include a 500-seat theatre, the largest formal event space on campus, and a two-story Center for Student Engagement and Leadership (SEAL).

To learn more about the project, contact Susie Brower Sadler ‘84, senior director of development, Armstrong Student Center, at 513-529-9217 or sadlers@muohio.edu.