With the Sept. 29 ribbon cutting ceremony behind us, the new David and Mary Ann Dawkins Welcome Center has already established a prominent presence on Hendrix’s campus.
Plans for the welcome center began in 2014-2015 during the strategic planning process. The $26 million estate gift from Mary Ann Dawkins and one million dollar challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation allowed the new welcome center to become a reality. No tuition dollars were used for this project.
The process for creating, modifying, and approving the plan involved many stages, and allowed for student involvement.
“The plans were created by a committee appointed by the president that had representatives from students, faculty, staff and trustees. After that plan was created, the plan was reviewed by the President and the Senior Leadership Team and shared with the Board of Trustees. And, after the plan was shared, the community was invited to provide any feedback,” Dean Jim Wiltgen said.
Dawkins Welcome Center will be home to the offices of Admission and Financial Aid. It will also showcase creative work by Hendrix students, alum, and staff, including visual art, excerpts from the Aonian, student research publications, and furniture made by Hendrix master carpenter Bruce Deleuil.
“I think it is a space that all members of the community will take pride in, as the building and the story it tells about Hendrix really reflect what is distinctive about our heritage and traditions, our academic programs and co-curricular opportunities, and the strong character of our ‘Bubble’ here on campus,” President Bill Tsutsui said.
Dawkins stands as a stark contrast to Ellis Hall, which was often difficult for prospective students and their parents to find and too small for all visitors to have adequate space, especially to sit down and have private conversations with admissions and financial aid officers.
“The new Welcome Center will guarantee that all visitors to campus have the opportunity to see Hendrix at its best and to experience from the very start the warm Arkansas hospitality and strong sense of community that sets Hendrix apart,” President Tsutsui said.
President Tsutsui is excited for the possibilities that the new welcome center will bring, as well as the ways in which it will improve the school’s image.
“The first impression that we as a community make upon prospective students and their families is absolutely crucial to our ability to continue attracting the best and the brightest young people to Hendrix,” President Tsuitsui said.
The welcome center will also provide an addition entrance into the campus on Harkrider Street, with more visitor parking.
The completion of Dawkins doesn’t mark the end of construction here on campus. Rather, Dawkins is the first of a few construction and renovation projects. The next big project on campus will be the Creative Quad, which will be located on Hulen’s current spot. The first floor will serve as a haven for the creative arts, while the second floor will be a residential space. These extra beds will also allow for the renovation of older dorms on campus. The administration hopes to begin work on this project soon, and is already working with the advancement team to raise money.
This story orginially appeared in the October Print Issue of the Profile