Yesterday I attended the dedication ceremony of the new Arthur F & Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies at Providence College. The school of business now has a building that is inviting and not embarrassing to bring guests. The new space is the result of the skillful restoration of a dorm building with an addition of a spacious atrium. The atrium seemed to house a couple of semi-conical shaped technology centers and was surrounded by classrooms, auditorium, and other facilities. The two sides of the building were connected via walkways with descending staircase connections. Compare this to the old Dore Hall, a dormitory with a large parking lot in front as shown in the image captured from Google Maps. The lawn you will see in the photographs below gave way to the large front lawn.
The airy feeling stemmed from the glass facades on both sides as well as the various sized skylights peppered with similarly shaped light fixtures. The effect mimicked a collection of different sized stars, perhaps intentionally hinting at future success stories. The major donor for the construction was Arthur Ryan, the former CEO of the Chase group and a PC alum. Along with the Ryan’s, many smaller donors contributed to the effort and their names are given to classrooms or computer labs.
The chairperson of the Department of Business Administration was Gus Cote when I was hired back in 1976. Gus was a meticulous accounting professor with impeccable handwriting on the blackboard. His wife Rita owned a travel agency and she ticketed our first trip to Turkey. Gus left about $400,000 upon his death to the school for a suitable educational space. Today, there is a computer lab carrying his name and in it, they had a collection of Gus Cote memorabilia. I recognized his fedora hat that topped his crisp attire.
Meeting Some Faces From The Past
I wandered around discovering the accessible places, hallways, classrooms, and a large auditorium. Inside the atrium, the tables were set up for the lunch after the dedication. During my meanderings inside the atrium, a familiar face approached with a smiling face. She was a former student whom I recall as a very good one, Allison Rubin returned to Providence College to work. We chatted a little, then she excused herself to mind some business. I also met Dee, an old friend who turned around after I tapped on her shoulder and gave me a huge hug. I also shook hands with Ted DeNicola from the development office. I had his son in a couple of classes but did not get a chance to ask how he was doing.
Outside the building on the front lawn, the rows of chairs were awaiting the guests. On the walkways were some faculty, administrators, guests, donors, all getting ready for the dedication of the building. Another former student came and said hello, flashback to 30 years ago! Yet another former student Ken Krazer was there with his camera, taking photographs and recording a video. I saw friends and chatted with them, then came the time to sit down for the ceremony.
The Dedication Ceremony
The young MC was a recent alum and a current MBA student. He opened the event with a brief introduction then called the college president Fr. Brian Shanley, O.P to the podium. Then came Sylvia Maxfield, Carol Hartley, and the namesake of the building Arthur Ryan. Upbeat and forward-looking speeches ended with Fr. Shanley making the dedication and jokingly saying “we are Catholics, I need to sprinkle some holy water around” and proceeding first to outside, then to the inside of the building. Upon his return, a large number of dignitaries lined up in front of the dais where a nice brass bell was waiting. Arthur Ryan rang the bell to announce the arrival of the new era at Providence College.
Then I reminisced about my first office that I shared with Bob Manni. It was on the third floor of Harkins Hall, about 7′ x 7′ space with no windows! Suddenly, all the glass and windows of the atrium in the Ryan Center became all the more important!
I am very happy for my colleagues and all the students at the School of Business that they finally have s space that means Business! Enjoy your new pad, all of you! Where is the coffee lounge again?