The G. Ross Anderson Jr. Student Center
The new $26 million G. Ross Anderson Jr. Student Center is a sprawling 86,000-square-foot complex, that includes dedicated spaces for dining, a banquet hall, a theater, and a wellness center. It also has numerous gathering spots for AU's student body to fellowship and study. The building is a visual representation of Anderson, the student-focused university committed to the development of character, servant leadership and cultural engagement.
The university had long wanted to upgrade the facilities currently used for dining and student activities. The primary dining halls in the Merritt Administration Building were built in 1911 and made to serve a different and much smaller student population. With only enough seating for 280 students at a time and enrollment now topping 3,400, the space was inadequate for the current bustling AU community. The size of our student body also meant we had to split student organizations, activities, and offices up between the old student center and multiple other buildings.
At the end of 2010, during the centennial celebration, the administration looked at what the university needed most to continue growing during the next 10 years and immediately identified that need to be a centralized student center. They started planning and raising the estimated funds needed to complete construction. We are pleased to report that we have secured nearly $16 million for this campaign thus far. Now, AU is asking you - alumnus, parent, friend, or leader - to help us with phase two of the campaign as several naming opportunities are still available.
Business management graduate Jennifer Price says the student center means an even stronger sense of community. Instead of being limited to residence halls and the library, she says a student center creates a stronger sense of community and creates additional places to gather. "We were really in need of a place for large student gatherings and campus events." Price said.
As a resident assistant, Price watched Anderson change students' lives in incredible ways, but she envisions this student center adding a new dimension to the campus community by giving students a place to build lasting relationships and share life together.
The 5,000-square-foot dining hall offers everything from traditional cafeteria food to gourmet options and made-to-order meals at food stations. The new dining hall provides nourishment for students, faculty, staff and visitors as well as provides a place to mingle and relax. Right off of the dining hall is a convertible banquet hall with seating for 400 people that splits into three sound-muffled rooms for smaller events and programs, such as lectures, university banquets and community forums. A 400-seat lecture hall and movie theater is also located on the main floor of the Student Center.
A place to engage
Commuting and graduate students finally have a place to further engage in campus life with the common areas. The space is available for unwinding with friends in the game room, doing some last-minute homework while charging up an iPad, or attending events hosted by one of more than 30 student organizations. The office of Student Activities is in a central location and easily accessible to students on the top floor of the student center.
The building is named in honor of United States District Judge G. Ross Anderson Jr., who has been a driving force behind the growth and the quality of education provided at Anderson University. The judge is one of the best-known Andersonians in the community and has been intricately involved with the university for years. AU continues to seek donations from the public for its fundraising campaign. For more information, contact Vice President for Development Wayne Landrith at (864) 231-2147.