$1 million gift to Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies makes Sims Hall renovations a reality

November 26, 2012

A walk down the hallways of the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies (CRS) on the first floor of Sims Hall reveals the unmistakable sights and smells of a freshly completed makeover: crisp paint, new carpeting and a lighter, brighter atmosphere. The improvements—along with numerous others—are part of a major five-month renovation to the department’s space that was made possible by a $1 million gift from the Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation Inc., facilitated by Terry M. Skuse G’75, a member of the advisory council in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), in which CRS is housed.

Department of Communication and Rhetorical StudiesThe department will celebrate the completed renovations on Friday, Nov. 30, with Skuse, who is the parent of VPA alumni Brian ’04 and Jeffrey ’05, who majored in CRS.

“It gives me great pleasure to celebrate the renovations with the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies and to recognize Terry Skuse and the Mangurian Foundation for their generosity,” says VPA Dean Ann Clarke. “A student’s education at our college is not only dependent on outstanding faculty, curricula and learning opportunities, but on an environment that encourages growth, collaboration and pride. You can feel a new energy and excitement within the department and on the first floor of Sims Hall.”

“The renovations have given the department a fresh, warm atmosphere as well as the advantages of cutting-edge technology,” says Amos Kiewe, professor of CRS and chair of the department, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010. “The classrooms represent our future while still maintaining a link to our rich past.”

In addition to new carpeting and paint throughout, highlights of the renovation include:

  • A large multi-purpose room with full technology, a mobile teaching station, easily movable chairs and tables and ample storage.
  • New classroom desks with wheels and cup holders that can adapt to right- or left-handed students.
  • A new suite for the department’s teaching assistants, featuring 12 individual workspaces, conference spaces and computer workstations.
  • A computer lab for faculty and graduate students.
  • Frosted glass doors on faculty offices to allow more light into the hallway, with tack boards next to each door for each faculty member’s use.
  • An updated main lobby with deacon benches and a cable-ready digital welcome screen featuring news and departmental announcements.
  • A comfortable, welcoming seating area in the department’s main office for prospective students, families and other guests that features a bookcase to showcase faculty publications and an additional digital welcome screen.
  • The addition of slim, modern benches to the hallway outside the classrooms, as well as decorative wood paneling with cutouts that allow light from the classrooms into the hallway.