Plucking the strings of her harp, Sarah Grant, a music major, entertained the hundreds that gathered for the grand opening of the East Academic Building (EAB) March 28. President Elizabeth Stroble said the EAB is an example of how the university is moving forward to becoming a more advanced school, as it is the first classroom building constructed on campus since 1984.
With its interactive classrooms, sustainable construction as well as new landscaping, Stroble said she believes these are the strides taken toward advancement. However, she said Webster’s past is connected to its’ future.
“With the opening of the East Academic Building, we celebrate the most recent evidence of this university’s continued advancement of global academic excellence over an almost 100-year history,” Stroble said. “Bridging the historical and future Webster, this building signals our continued momentum and commitment to meet students’ needs.”
Being the new home to the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, the EAB’s New York-based architect, Robert A.M. Stern, said he believes the decision to construct the building was a sign of advancement.
“To build is an act of optimism; to build is to express confidence in the future,” Stern said.
Stern, the dean of the Yale School of Architecture, said that with Webster’s global identity, the EAB will attract more international students.
“Why so many people want to come to American universities to study and what they take back to their homes, wherever they’re from, is that sense of a place,” Stern said. “So, I offer you the hope, that this building that we’re sitting in and dedicating today, will make a contribution to the sense of place of Webster University.”
Chris Penberthy, the graduate assistant in admissions, said he was honored to be a part of the planning process.
“I was a part of the committee who came up with all of the events (for the grand opening),” Penberthy said. “We have tons of amazing speakers that are here. It’s a once in a generation thing for Webster to have a new academic building, let alone something this humongous.”
The building, which cost $29 million, is LEED certified meant to save energy and reduce CO2 emission. With these sustainable efforts and two green roofs and two rain gardens, $30,000 is expected to be saved a year.
Gorlok guide, Marissa Diekhoff, said she enjoys being a Gorlok guide for reasons like the EAB.
“The building itself is a really great oppurtunity for students, and in Webster Groves, we need a place to fit all of our students,” Diekhoff said. “I couldn’t be a Gorlok guide if I didn’t love Webster. I really enjoy my job.”