Ambitious Enhancement Plan Transforms Campus
When I became president of Wilkes, I started a tradition of celebrating major campus developments with the Wilkes community during Homecoming Weekend. These historic events included: the grand opening of the Cohen Science Center in 2013, the dedication of the Sidhu School of Business and Leadership in the University Center on Main in 2014, the groundbreaking of the Karambelas East Campus Gateway in 2015, and the unveiling of the Campus Gateway project in 2016. At Homecoming 2017, I was proud to introduce the new Karambelas Media and Communication Center and to rededicate our expanded Sordoni Art Gallery.
This Homecoming, Oct. 5-7, there will be no shortage of exciting things to celebrate. Wilkes University is in the midst of an ambitious $100 million campus enhancement plan that will help us achieve our decades-long dream of creating a first-class, residential campus, fully integrated into our host city of Wilkes-Barre. In the relatively short time between the publication of this letter and your return to campus for Homecoming, the Wilkes campus will be improved in immeasurable ways.
Here is a preview of the projects being completed this summer:
- Engineering Innovation Center at Stark Learning Center: An $8 million renovation to our largest academic building has dramatically enhanced our engineering capabilities. We have created state-of-the-art bioengineering, nanotechnology, additive manufacturing, and high-speed computing labs that will prepare students to meet the changing needs of engineering in the 21st century.
- Campus Gateway Project: This system of walkways will seamlessly connect the southern section of campus behind the Henry Student Center to the Fenner Quadrangle in much the same way that the Karambelas East Campus Gateway connects the center of campus to South Main Street. Focal points along the Gateway highlight our beautiful campus and provide comfortable gathering areas and additional event space.
- Campus Enhancement Plan: A master landscaping plan will replace overgrown greenery with colorful flowers and bushes, showcasing the beauty of our historic mansions. This plan will also include new and improved lighting, sidewalks, and signage, all in an effort to beautify our campus and enhance its functionality.
In addition to these projects, work will begin on other transformative initiatives: the creation of a Pharmacy Collaboration Corridor in Stark Learning Center and the total renovation of the Ralston Athletic Complex.
People often tell me that campus has never looked better. While I’m extremely grateful for those remarks, I often respond by saying: “If you think the campus looks good now, just wait until later this year!”
There has never been a better time at Wilkes. Won’t you join me at Homecoming 2018 and experience this progress for yourself?
Patrick F. Leahy