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University Relations

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March 30, 2005
Contact: Victor Bailey, Hall Center for the Humanities, (785) 864-7822.

Media Advisory: KU's Hall Center for the Humanities to be dedicated April 9

LAWRENCE -- The Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas will dedicate its new building at 2 p.m. April 9 outside the facility at 900 Sunnyside Ave. KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, Donald J. Hall, chairman of the board of Hallmark Inc., and Hall Center Director Victor Bailey will speak. The event is open to the public, and a reception will follow.

" The dedication is a moment to thank our generous patrons, and none more so than the Hall Family Foundation of Kansas City, which has supported excellence in the humanities at KU for over 20 years," Bailey said. "The dedication also is a moment for those associated with the humanities at KU to recommit themselves to the mission of creating vibrant scholarship and of sharing their knowledge with an interested public."

The 14,700-square-foot building -- which includes a 120-seat conference room, a seminar room, and offices for staff and research fellows -- was funded by a $4.07 million gift from the Hall Family Foundation, $1.89 million in state funds and $260,000 in additional private donations. Groundbreaking took place in September 2003 and the building was completed in January.

Spaces in the building have been named in honor and memory of three people who strongly supported the humanities at KU: the W. Clarke Wescoe Conference Hall; the Franklin Murphy Center for Resident Fellows; and the Lynwood H. Smith Seminar Room.

" As people go through the interior stone arch into the conference hall, they will see Socrates' words: 'The unexamined life is not worth living,'" Bailey said. "We all find meaning in our lives by trying to understand how events, people and experiences have changed us for better or for worse. The Hall Center's essential mission is to promote the examined life."

The new building incorporates the arched facade from the oldest structure on campus: the KU Powerhouse, built in 1887. John G. Haskell, architect of five early KU buildings that include Bailey Hall, modeled the Powerhouse after a palace in Oviedo, Spain. The palace was converted into a church called Santa Maria de Naranco in the 13th century.

The history of the Powerhouse is rather turbulent. It was struck by lightning in 1898 and severely damaged by fire, and after a quiet existence for several decades, the structure again was damaged by fire in 1991. The building was up for demolition many times before it was announced in May 2002 that it would be incorporated into the new building design of the Hall Center for the Humanities.

For more information please contact the Hall Center at hallcenter@ku.edu or call (785) 864-7822.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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