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Simon Usdan and his father, John Usdan '80, took turns cutting the ribbon during the Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center dedication Sept. 7.
Posted 09.17.07

Usdan Family Honored at Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center Dedication

With a snip of red and black Wesleyan ribbons, the Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center officially opened Sept. 7 following a dedication ceremony.

The three-story, triangular brick building houses airy dining facilities for students, faculty and staff, Wesleyan Station post office, ample meeting spaces, the box office, student organization offices, retail space and café. A rear terrace provides a high-up view of Andrus Field, Olin Library, Foss Hill and College Row.

“Today, after several years of planning and over two years of construction we have the opportunity to share our appreciation to the entire Usdan family and many of the other members of the Wesleyan community who made this center possible,” said Rick Culliton, director of the university center and dean of campus programs. ”It is hard to believe that we have officially opened our doors.”

The university center dedication ceremony took place on the back-yard courtyard. The Usdan family attendees included John ’80 and Eva Usdan and their boys, Simon, Sam and Joshua; Adam Usdan ’83 and Andrea Pollack, and their daughter Hanna; and Esme Usdan and James Snyder. John, Adam and Esme Usdan made a contribution to Wesleyan in honor of their mother, Suzanne Lemberg Usdan.

Culliton and President Michael Roth expressed their gratitude to the Usdan family.

“We are very thankful for their generosity, and their ability to envision the role that that the center could play for the community,” Roth said.

Culliton also applauded the architects and contractors who made the Usdan complex a reality. These include Boston-based architects Kallmann McKinnell & Wood; Boston-based landscape architects Robert Olson and Associates; Cheshire, Conn.-based FIP Construction who oversaw more than 70 subcontractors and 1,000 laborers.

From Wesleyan, he thanked Alan Rubacha, project coordinator and construction services consultant; Peter Patton, vice president and secretary of the university; the Wesleyan Student Assembly, the planning and design committees; and the hundreds of people from the university community who have contributed to the successful completion of the Usdan Center.

“Some of us have been working for months, and some of us for several years on this project, and while most of us are tired by the long hours it has taken to get to this point, we are enthused by the opportunities that this hard work presents to Wesleyan moving forward,” Culliton said. “The Usdan Center by virtue of what is here will draw members of the community together.”

Already, the Usdan Center has become a gathering place for families and new students during Arrival Day and New Student Orientation, and faculty have already met informally with their advisees while other faculty and staff met with colleagues in the Gregory family café and in the Daniel Family Commons.

Chris Goy ’09, who served on a university center planning committee, and Jim Dresser ‘63, chair of the Board of Trustees, also spoke at the dedication, which kicked off with West African Drum ensemble.

The Ring Family Lobby, Gregory Family Café, Huss Courtyard, Taylor Meeting Room 108, Andersen meeting room 110, Hicks Meeting Room 136, Daniel Family Commons, the Cavanagh and James Terrace, information desk, Wesleyan Student Assembly Center, director’s office and box office also received private dedication ceremonies with their donors in attendance on Sept. 7.
By Olivia Bartlett, Wesleyan Connection editor