Alumni Center opens for public
Alumni, friends, and family members of ISU scour the Wall of Alumni and Friends for names on Sat., Oct. 25, 2008, outside the Alumni Center. The idea for the Alumni Center was a plan in the works from almost 30 years ago, finally put into action in 2006, and dedicated during 2008's Homecoming. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

ISU alumni have a new $11.2 million home.

Alumni gathered underneath a clear-blue sky to celebrate the opening of the ISU Alumni Center, held Saturday, before the football game.

Jeff Johnson, president of the ISU Alumni Association and speaker at the ceremony, thanked those who donated money to build the center.

A special recognition was given to Roy and Bobbi Reiman. Roy is a 1957 graduate in agriculture journalism and Bobbi is a 2006 honorary alumna. The couple donated $9 million to fund the construction of the Alumni Center building.

The Reimans were presented with a key to the building and a framed, artist-rendition painting of the center, as a show of gratitude for their donation.

Other highlights of the ceremony included a speech from Porter Garner, executive director of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M’s alumni organization. Garner presented a letter of citation on behalf of Texas A&M commending the hard work of all those who contributed to the creation of the center.

Other alumni received special recognition for their hard work and donations. Alumni Michael and Jean Steffenson, of Davenport, received thanks for their donation to fund a sculpture of Cy at the entrance of the Alumni Center. The Steffensons received a replica of the sculpture as gift for their donation.

The sculpture was designed by Michael D’Ambrosi, an Arizona artist.

Johnson said there are no sculptures of Cy on campus and this would be the first sculpture located on campus.

He said the remaining $15 million raised will fund an endowment to help maintain and upkeep the building.

During his speech, Johnson said plans to build the center have been in the works for more than 30 years.

Johnson said the center is more than a building on campus — a place alumni should call home.

“This is a gift to ISU. A gift for past, present and future students. A gift from alumni,” he said. “This university has always welcomed back its alumni and friends. Now friends, welcome home to the Alumni Center.”

Johnson said the center will serve multiple purposes. It is a place where alumni can host parties and events, and it is the permanent home of the ISU Alumni Association and Student Alumni Leadership Council.

Johnson mentioned the design of the 34,500-square-foot center was inspired by Iowa State’s architectural past. For example, the stairs leading to the entrance are reminiscent of the entrance to Beardshear Hall and Curtiss Hall. The brick used on the exterior of the building are similar to State Gym. Four portions of the exterior of the building are made out of limestone which represent the four limestone buildings of Central Campus — Beardshear, Curtiss, MacKay and the Memorial Union. Lastly, the location of the building, placed strategically on a hill, was meant to mimic the opening words of the Iowa State Alma Mater song, “Green hills for thy throne.”

Philip De Koster, a sociology major and ‘07 alumnus, said he liked the architectural design of the building.

“It’s beautiful. I really like the architectural tie-ins to the campus,” he said. “I like the noticeable architectural features of campus blended in with the building.”

De Koster said the building should be a way for alumni and friends to stay connected with one another after graduation.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for people to remain connected to the university,” he said.

Johnson said the center did incorporate some eco-friendly initiatives that fit in with Iowa State’s Live Green! campaign. He said the building is geothermal, so instead of depending on electricity for its primary source of heating and cooling, the building uses soil temperature to heat and cool the building.

According to Johnson, this is the only building on campus that is geothermal. Also, the landscaping will incorporate bioswells. Bioswells will capture rain water runoff and use the water to nurture heat-resistant plants.

Johnson said he hopes all who attended the ceremony will leave with the impression they are a part of the university. He said earning a college degree doesn’t end a student’s relationship with the university and they should support the university by any means necessary to help it grow.

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