On March 27, Cottey College dedicated the new Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Campus Life. The date is particularly noteworthy as it also celebrated the 173rd anniversary of the birth of the founder, Virginia Alice Cottey, and was held in conjunction with annual Founder’s Day events.
Participants in the ribbon cutting are (left to right) Christi Fulton Ellis ’96, associate vice president for institutional advancement; Jim Bickel, member of the Cottey College Board of Trustees; Dr. Jann Weitzel, President of the College; Sheryl Crow Mowry ’58, alumna; and Sherri Taylor, Senior Donor Advisor.
The new campus center features gathering, studying, meeting and dining space for students, faculty, staff, and visitors; the Cottey spirit shop; the Chellie Club, a coffee and snack bar; lockers for Cottey’s growing commuter student population; new campus meeting spaces; and outdoor terraces with multiple spaces for seating and an amphitheater. In addition to the campus center, the upper level of the Chapel has been revitalized and the entire facility is now air conditioned.
“Our hope with this space is that it really becomes a hub of activity for our students,” said Dr. Landon Adams, vice president for student life. “This center is an entirely new amenity that we haven’t had in the past and we’re excited to see how that enhances the student dynamic on campus. We’ve moved our spirit shop and Chellie Club to this area to make this a place where students can socialize and collaborate.”
“Our Founder designed her college and curriculum to be attuned to the needs of her students, and this campus center ensures that her college continues to address the needs of current students,” said Christi Ellis, associate vice president of institutional advancement and alumnae relations. “Many thanks to our donors: alumnae, P.E.O.s, friends of the College, and the BIL Task Force for their tireless work in making this space a reality.”
Fundraising for the $3 million renovation of the Chapel took approximately two years to complete, but the interior renovations were completed in only seven months from the time ground was broken on August 18, 2020.
“This is an incredible space and a remarkable achievement,” said Dr. Jann Weitzel, president of the College. “To go from a dark, outdated basement, which was underutilized, and turn it into this beautiful center with natural lighting and outdoor gathering spaces is amazing. Having this space in the geographic center of the campus makes it a natural gathering spot for visiting, studying, meeting, and just enjoying the campus environment.”