Klarman Hall celebration May 26

By: Kathy Hovis,  A&S Communications
May 16, 2016

Cornell’s interim president, Hunter R. Rawlings III, and Gretchen Ritter ‘83, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will welcome more than 60 trustees, alumni and their families, students, faculty, members of the community and guests to campus May 26 for the formal dedication of the university’s new humanities building, Klarman Hall.

The dedication is the capstone of a semester filled with events celebrating a New Century for the Humanities at Cornell.

The daylong event, which is open to the public, will include faculty panels, an open house with tours of the building, the unveiling of the contents for the Klarman Hall time capsule and a dedication ceremony featuring a new poem by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, associate professor of English, commissioned for the event.

 “The dedication of Klarman Hall symbolizes Cornell’s commitment to the arts and humanities at the center of the university,” said Rawlings, who also is Cornell president emeritus and professor emeritus of classics. “The perspectives of philosophers, artists, musicians, and other humanists are vital as we seek to understand one another and address our most pressing problems.”

The dedication will kick off with two faculty panels featuring professors, alumni and experts from across disciplines. The first panel, “History of the U.S. Constitution,” will be moderated by Rawlings and include panelists Michael Dorf, the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, and Michael Klarman, the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

The second panel, “Transformative Humanities: Faculty Reflections on Life-Changing Creative Works,” will feature Don Randel, Cornell professor emeritus of musicology, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, former Cornell provost and president emeritus of both the University of Chicago and the Mellon Foundation; Ishion Hutchinson, assistant professor in the Department of English; Mary Beth Norton, the Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History; and Paul Fleming, professor of German studies.

Selections from the Transformative Humanities series, as well as other essays and poems, are included in a commemorative booklet created by Cornell University Press for this event.

Visitors are welcome to tour Klarman Hall during an open house, then attend the 4 p.m. dedication ceremony.

During the open house, visitors will see the contents of the Klarman Hall time capsule, with items that tell the tale of life as we know it in 2016 selected by a faculty committee and designed by a group of students with contributions from faculty members, students and alumni.

The university broke ground on Klarman Hall in May 2013 during a ceremony attended by Seth ’79 and Beth Klarman, principal supporters of the project, for whom the building is named.

Klarman Hall is one of the few buildings on campus built entirely through philanthropy. In addition to the Klarmans, more than 100 donors contributed to the project. Other major supporters attending the dedication include the Groos family, representing four generations of Cornellians, for whom the building’s atrium is named; Judith Lund Biggs ’57 and Suzanne Weiss, who have named the auditorium in honor of university Presidents Rawlings and Frank H. T. Rhodes; Franci Blassberg ’75, JD ’77, and Joseph Rice; Bart ’61 and Susan Winokur ’61; Linda and William Macaulay; and Sheila Mossman ’79. The building is the first new humanities building on central campus in more than 100 years.

“As we had hoped, since its opening in January, Klarman Hall has become a vibrant gathering point for students, faculty and staff,” said Ritter. “I am forever grateful to my predecessors, colleagues and the visionary alumni who made this building come to life, and I look forward to celebrating with them at the dedication.”

Klarman Hall has a 7,700-square-foot central atrium and café, a 330-seat auditorium and 120 academic spaces, including individual faculty offices, seminar rooms and seven offices accommodating up to 35 graduate teaching assistants. The building is the new home of three units in the College of Arts and Sciences – the Departments of Romance Studies and Comparative Literature and the college’s Academic Advising and Admissions Office.

Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Schedule of events:

Thursday, May 26

  • 1-2 p.m.: “History of the U.S. Constitution,” an academic panel, Rhodes Ÿ Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall. With: Hunter R. Rawlings III; Michael Dorf, the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law, Cornell Law School; and Michael Klarman, the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; introduction by Dean Gretchen Ritter.
  • 2:15–3:15 p.m.: “Transformative Humanities: Faculty Reflections on Life-Changing Creative Works,” Rhodes Ÿ Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall. With: Don Randel; Ishion Hutchinson; Mary Beth Norton; and Paul Fleming.
  • 3:15–4 p.m.: open house, Klarman Hall.
  • 4–4:45 p.m.: dedication ceremony, Groos Family Atrium, Klarman Hall with Rawlings, Ritter and Seth Klarman; reading of a new poem by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon; and music from Cayuga’s Waiters.

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