World-Class Addition to World's Only Frank Lloyd Wright Campus
Dr. Marcene Christoverson
Architect Robert A.M. Stern and Dr. Christoverson
Dr. Marcene H. and Robert E. Christoverson Humanities Building
LAKELAND (Nov. 12, 2010) - From the veranda on the front of the Dr. Marcene H. and Robert E. Christoverson Humanities Building, world-renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern called his latest creation "the embodiment of the ideals of education in a magnificent setting."
With a patriotic flair, Florida Southern College on Friday opened the 25,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art building on Lake Hollingsworth Drive at Johnson Avenue. The College's Moccasin Battalion presented the colors and delivered a cannon salute in tribute to the veterans after whom the building is named.
The Christoverson Building provides a dedicated setting for the study of the humanities with spacious new classrooms, seminar rooms, a writing center, language and computer labs, a film studies theater, faculty offices, and a two-story art gallery.
"This spectacular structure will serve as the home to the humanities disciplines, which have served as the foundation for our college since it was founded 125 years ago," said FSC president Dr. Anne Kerr. To Dr. Christoverson, she added, "Your investment will result in life-changing learning opportunities for our students now and for generations to come."
Dr. Christoverson, an FSC trustee who gave the lead gift for the building, and her late husband both were military veterans, inspiring the theme for the Veterans Day weekend dedication ceremony. Dr. Christoverson served as a Navy WAVE during World War II. She became a photo engraver following her discharge; and in 1947, became a bookkeeper for St. John Associates, Inc. Over the years, she rose through the ranks to become chairman, president, and CEO of the Bronx-based company, arguably the largest woman-owned direct mail house in the world. Her company has been recognized as the leader among women-owned businesses and received the "Bridges to Success Award" in 2000.
Her generous gift to fund the humanities building inspired an outpouring of support from alumni, Lakeland leaders, and national foundations. At the dedication, Dr. Christoverson said that Dr. Kerr's request that she give toward a new humanities building was an offer she could not refuse. "She showed me this incredible architect's rendering of a building with our names on it!" Dr. Christoverson said.
Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture and founder of Robert A.M. Stern Architects in New York, was among the featured speakers at the dedication ceremony. He called the Christoverson Building "a second dream opportunity" to build on the historic campus that is home to the world's largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.
"Just as the humanities are the heart of any college campus, we hope the Christoverson Humanities Building will be the heart of Florida Southern College's academic community," Stern said.