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crumb trail: Home >> Whistle Online >> Archives >> June 16, 2008

Plans unveiled to name Undergraduate
Learning Commons for President Clough

Dan Treadaway
& Marketing

  Undergraduate Learning Commons rendering

Architectural rendering is representative and subject to change with final design

The 230,000-square-foot building will be dedicated to undergraduate students’ academic enrichment and will offer innovative learning experiences.

After 14 years as president of Georgia Tech—in addition to five years as a bachelor’s and master’s student—there’s very little that can actually surprise President G. Wayne Clough.
Clough, however, was genuinely surprised—and a bit overwhelmed—when he learned that not only had the fundraising been nearly completed, but that the new Undergraduate Learning Commons itself would also be named in his honor. The announcement of the naming request was made jointly to the Foundation Board of Trustees and the Campaign Georgia Tech Steering Committee at the Foundation Board’s meeting on June 5.

The naming of the G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons honors the significant commitment to undergraduate education by the president over the past 14 years.
Initial plans for the Undergraduate Learning Commons can be traced back nearly a decade—to the early years of Clough’s presidency—but the state funding component was cemented just weeks ago. In the succeeding 10 years, the facility had become the Institute’s highest capital priority due to the rapid growth of the Tech student body.

This impressive growth brought its own challenges, however. Chief among them is how to support both new and continuing students through the creation of a campus community that is invested in their success. The $85-million Undergraduate Learning Commons—which literally will sit at the crossroads of campus—will be dedicated to students’ academic enrichment and offer innovative learning experiences. The seven-level building encases a central glass atrium and will be located on a slope between the Tech Green and the Price Gilbert Library, providing expansive views of green space as well as the Kessler Campanile.

What will set the Clough Learning Commons apart from other student-oriented facilities is a unique and comfortable environment outside the traditional classroom where students can take advantage of hands-on, collaborative and technologically enhanced teaching and learning opportunities. The facility will encompass:

— Modern and innovative science laboratories for foundational biology, chemistry, earth and atmospheric sciences and physics courses;

— Technologically advanced classrooms ranging from intimate seminar classroom settings to tiered lecture halls seating hundreds;

— A single facility that houses undergraduate advising, tutoring and other student-centered academic services; and

— Sustainable design features that will enable certification as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building.

  Undergraduate Learning Commons rendering

Architectural rendering is representative and subject to change with final design

The $85-million Undergraduate Learning Commons —which literally will sit at the crossroads of campus—will be located between Tech Green and the Price Gilbert Library

The estimated 230,000-square-foot building—the construction of which will be funded through a combination of private philanthropy ($25 million+) and state appropriations ($60 million)—will create and sustain an undergraduate community focused on integrating technology with innovative teaching and experiential learning. Collaboration spaces will create opportunities for informal teaching and learning; flexible, adaptable spaces will accommodate individual and collaborative study and small group work.

Site preparation will begin this summer. The Clough Learning Commons is scheduled to open in the summer of 2011.

While current students and faculty are sure to always remember the Clough name, the volunteer leadership of Campaign Georgia Tech wanted to make sure that future generations of students know and appreciate the Clough legacy.

They accomplished this by providing lead commitments and assurances that will name the Learning Commons in honor of Clough. Those commitments will be combined with gifts and commitments of fellow alumni, corporations and foundations, which are still being received. A seven-figure commitment from the Atlanta-based Robert W. Woodruff Foundation that is contingent upon Tech’s raising the remaining private funding required will cap the effort.

“I am honored to be able to honor Wayne Clough,” says Michael E. Tennenbaum, senior managing partner of Tennenbaum Capital Partners in Santa Monica, Calif., and Campaign vice chairman. “He and Anne made great personal sacrifices to escalate the quality and stature of Georgia Tech. Those who love Tech cannot do enough to thank them. Naming this signature building in the heart of the campus for Wayne is a perfect metaphor for that which was important to him—the success of our students.”

“Georgia Tech is one of our state’s greatest assets, and Wayne Clough has been an exemplary leader of his alma mater,” says P. Russell Hardin, president of the Woodruff Foundation. “He was the right man at the right time for Tech.”

“The impact of Wayne Clough’s presidency on Georgia Tech cannot be underestimated,” says Alfred P. West Jr., who, in addition to serving as chairman of Campaign Georgia Tech, is also chairman and CEO of SEI Investments Co. in Oaks, Penn. “In the span of 14 years, he has taken Georgia Tech from a well-respected regional university focused on engineering to an internationally prominent institution encompassing dynamic interdisciplinary fields with vast potential for solving problems on a global scale. That kind of contribution deserves a highly visible means of lasting recognition, and naming the Learning Commons in Wayne’s honor fits the bill perfectly.”



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Last Modified: June 16, 2008