On Friday, September 19, 2014, students, faculty, and community members gathered to dedicate the opening of the Arcus Center for Social Justice and Leadership (ACSJL).
The ceremony began with a traditional West African blessing and Libation Ceremony led by Dr. Olasope Oyelaran, a resident friend of the college. The West African Blessing included a traditional song and the use of sacred water to honor the legacies of those who came before.
Several trustees of the college were honored as well as, “those on whom shoulders we stand,” explained Dr. Olasope Oyelaran.
Following the Libation Ceremony Charlotte Hall ’66, Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, sent greetings and congratulations on behalf of the board.
Hall explained that The Arcus Center provides Kalamazoo College with, “a physical presences that speaks far more clearly than words to the idea and the ideal of social justice leadership.”
“I would say that here in this spectacular building, form follows mission,” said Hall.
Benefactor and alum, John Stryker ’82, explained that the ACSJL was a product of collaboration and thanked everyone who had a part in the project.
“Collaboration is vital to success. It becomes clear why the building is such a metaphor for its purpose…It’s great to be able to say everyone’s name because there is so much that goes into a project like this” said Stryker.
President Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran and Jeanne Gang, the architect of the ACSJL, continued to show appreciation of all those that had a part in the project.
“Your generosity of heart as well as treasure has made this building possible, we don’t know how to thank you,” said President Wilson-Oyelaran.
The Kalamazoo College President further discussed the future of the project and what she hopes for it.
“Today we dedicate a piece of art. We also re-consecrate the work that will continue within it,” said Wilson-Oyelaran
Cameron Goodall ’15, Student Commission President, spoke on behalf of the student body.
“It’s big because issues of social justice infiltrated our campus long before the Arcus Foundation even came here…but now there’s a permanent home,” said Goodall.
The event concluded as Carol Anderson, Professor of Religion, Lisa Brock, Academic Director for ACSJL and Mia Henry, Executive Director for ACSJL, joined together to cut the ribbon and open the doors of the Arcus Center to the public.