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Newhouse III dedication, 2007

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Newhouse I dedication, 1964

In 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson came to Syracuse University to dedicate the Newhouse I building, journalism was largely a print business, with broadcast following in close stead. Now, more than four decades later, the world has experienced the computer and digital revolutions, as well as the rise of cable television, the Internet, and cellular and satellite communications. “Newhouse III provides us with an exciting environment in which to address the challenges to the communications industry in the early 21st century,” says David M. Rubin, dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Set against this changing communications landscape, the Newhouse School celebrated the opening of Newhouse III, a 74,000-square-foot addition to the Newhouse Communications Complex, with a dedication ceremony on September 19. U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. delivered the keynote address before a capacity crowd in Hendricks Chapel. Roberts opened his remarks by citing the historical significance of constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech. But he went on to caution against viewing the First Amendment in isolation, stressing that without an independent judiciary, such rights would mean little. “The new building that we dedicate properly celebrates the words of the First Amendment,” Roberts told the audience, which included such notable alumni as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist William Safire ’51, H’78 and sportscaster Mike Tirico ’88. “They literally surround and envelop those who will study and work in the building. But to those people, I would offer this caution: Do not think for a moment that those words alone will protect you. ... Without an independent judiciary to give substance to the constitutional text as law, the words are nothing but empty promises.”

After the speech, the audience, led by the Syracuse University Ancient Drum Corps, processed to the Newhouse Communications Complex, where students, faculty, alumni, and guests crowded the lawn and pavement along University Place and lined the steps of the plaza for the “ribbon-cutting” ceremony, in which the traditional ribbon was appropriately replaced by a roll of newsprint. In his opening remarks, Rubin traced the origins of the building project and the decision to incorporate the First Amendment into the design of Newhouse III (see "Making a Statement"). “We wanted a building that communicated to the world what went on inside—a building that stated clearly what we at Newhouse hold as a matter of faith,” Rubin said. “Our wonderful architects at Polshek Partnership delivered on this request in a bold manner by etching the words of the entire First Amendment in the glass that wraps the building.”

Rubin also thanked the Newhouse family for making Newhouse III possible. S.I. Newhouse Jr. ’49 and University Trustee Donald Newhouse ’51 “have been the school’s champions and have carried on their father’s legacy,” Rubin said. “Newhouse III is only the latest example of their continuing generosity that has helped make the school a national leader in communications education.”

S.I. Newhouse Jr., speaking on behalf of the family, called the school “one of the glories” of SU. “Students who come to this school will educate themselves to be practitioners in the first principle of the Bill of Rights,” he said. “They will come here to learn how to speak, how to seek the truth, with intelligence, care, and fearlessness—and how to express the truth clearly and without bias. Newhouse III embodies the ideal of freedom of the press.”

Also speaking at the ceremony were communications professor Jay Wright G’77; Stephanie Rivetz ’08; Chancellor Nancy Cantor; and Chief Justice Roberts, who invoked the importance of responsibility in exercising the right to free speech. “So much of your individual lives, the sacrifices of family and friends, have been devoted to ensuring that you have the opportunity to learn and exercise those rights,” Roberts said. “My message to you is very simple: Don’t blow it.”

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Breaking Ground
Plans for the new building were announced in 2003 in conjunction with a $15 million gift—one of the largest private donations in SU history—from the S.I. Newhouse Foundation and the Newhouse family. “The Newhouse School has reached a point at which it must expand to fulfill its mission,” said Donald Newhouse, president of Advance Publications Inc. “The ever-changing, ever-increasing forms of public communications that new technologies engender have greatly multiplied the areas of expertise needed by professionals.”

In spring 2004, New York City-based Polshek Partnership Architects, the firm chosen to oversee design and construction, unveiled its design ideas for the $31.6 million building. “The fundamental operating designs for Newhouse III are connectivity, a social heart, and memory,” said Polshek associate partner Tomas Rossant, the project’s lead designer. “We hope to create a building that is dynamic and reflects the vitality of Newhouse to the world.”

In November 2005, Donald and Susan Newhouse joined Rubin and Chancellor Cantor for the official groundbreaking. At the controls of a bulldozer, Donald Newhouse donned a hard hat and lifted the first shovelful of earth to set the project in motion. Construction, under the supervision of Polshek and J.D. Taylor Construction, proceeded according to schedule, and was completed this August. Designed specifically to foster collaboration through the creation of natural gathering places for students, faculty, alumni, and guests, Newhouse III is warm and welcoming. From the natural daylight streaming through the facility to the spacious lounges and the popular dining area Food.com to the high-tech laboratories that bring together the communications disciplines, the building is designed to support learning for generations to come. The words of the First Amendment, the legal foundation of American press freedoms, are etched in glass and wrap the building’s exterior, providing perhaps the most striking visual element. The physical interplay between the oldest journalistic principle and a modern, evolved communications environment is symbolic of the Newhouse School’s mission. “Students from the 1960s will remember manual typewriters, press type, copy paper, and glue pots—a very different world from today’s multiple computer labs and facilities to encourage convergence,” Professor Jay Wright says. “But the emphasis on learning First Amendment values has never wavered at the school.”

With the completion of Newhouse III and renovations made throughout the complex, the school has achieved several important goals. Teaching and production labs have been optimally modernized for the Digital Age, enabling greater collaboration among departments and major areas of study. Opportunities for research valuable to media professionals and scholars have been substantially increased. A stronger connection to working professionals has been created through mid-career training offerings, new degree programs, and a home for professional organizations. And, ultimately, the improvements enhance the educational, social, and extracurricular environment for students. “The principal strength of the Newhouse School since its founding has been its focus on a specific mission: to educate the next generation of professionals who aspire to careers in all media industries,” Dean Rubin says. “The third building permits us to serve our students in ways that were not previously possible. It also allows us to expand our mission into research and service areas that are in need of increased emphasis. And it fosters a greater sense of community within the school, which has always been one of our greatest assets.”

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MAKING A STATEMENT

Showcasing the First Amendment on the outer walls of Newhouse III makes a striking statement to all who visit campus: The First Amendment lies at the heart of American journalism and continues to play a vital role in American democracy. “This is who we are and this is what we do,” Newhouse Dean David M. Rubin says. “Without the First Amendment, most of what we do in the Newhouse School would not be possible or would be done in a vastly different way.”

The display is a statement not only about the amendment’s importance to journalism and journalism education, but also about the Newhouse community’s commitment to it. “The Newhouse School must be a place that challenges government to respect the value of free speech and open debate, and its graduates must accept the responsibility of advancing this cause in their own work,” Rubin says. “We are charged with promoting the free speech and press that the Founding Fathers knew were necessary to a functioning democracy.”

The display also makes a statement about the importance of the First Amendment to American society at large. “Embedded in those five freedoms are the things that we value most in our democracy,” says Professor Charlotte Grimes, Knight Chair in Political Reporting. “If you look at free speech, a free press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, the right to petition…throw in elections, and you’ve got democracy.

“That we can put this right at the gateway of campus is something for the Newhouse School to be particularly proud of,” Grimes says. “It is a statement about and for us, but it is also a statement about and for the things that a good university always stands for—the values of democracy.”

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Key Support

The construction of Newhouse III was made possible by a lead gift from the Newhouse family and the support of several key alumni and friends of the school.

A gift from SU Trustee Joyce Hergenhan ’63 created the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium. Formerly vice president for corporate public relations at General Electric and president of the GE Foundation, Hergenhan remains devoted to her alma mater. “I attended Syracuse on a full scholarship because of the generosity of others,” she says. “I believe it is important to repay that kind of generosity. Supporting the auditorium, which is a resource for Syracuse University as well as Newhouse, allows me to do something to benefit the entire campus.”

Rob Light ’78 credits his years at the Newhouse School with preparing him for a successful future. “The education you receive at Newhouse is very practical and hands on,” he says. “So much of what I learned actually applies to my job.” Managing partner and head of music at the Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency, Light is the first member of his family to receive a college education. He sees his involvement with Newhouse as one way of expressing his appreciation for the sacrifices his parents made for him. His gift establishes the Barney Light Center for Inquiry, Innovation, and Imagination. Also known as the I-3 Center, it is intended to stimulate and support research and creative activities by students and faculty. Light’s generosity also funds the gallery in Newhouse I that showcases an array of photographic and journalistic exhibitions.

Bob Miron ’59, chairman and CEO of Advance/Newhouse Communications, is a member of the Newhouse family and a staunch supporter of the school. He and his wife, Diane Goldblatt Miron, backed the construction of Newhouse III because they believe in the school’s mission and purpose, and recognize the need for expansion to support and enhance the school’s continued strength. “Newhouse is one of the best in the country,” says Miron, a University trustee. “It provides a wonderful background and opportunity for a career in communications.” Their gift supports the Miron Special Events Room, a 1,000-square-foot room on the plaza level of Newhouse I that will hold a wide variety of events and boasts a private outdoor veranda with breathtaking views of campus.

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Courtesy of Polshek Partnership Architects

Eric Mower ’66, G’68, chairman and CEO of Eric Mower and Associates, an advertising, public relations, and sales promotion agency, chose to support Newhouse “because it was one of those special things that changed my life,” he says. He credits his Newhouse education with providing him a comprehensive, intellectually rich professional foundation. Mower and his wife, Judith C. Mower ’66, G’73, G’80, G’84, an SU trustee, gave a gift in support of the new bridge connecting Newhouse I and II, which literally spans the gap between the two buildings and figuratively spans the past, present, and future of the Newhouse School. “My wife and I liked the metaphorical nature of a special walkway that provides students with a passage to their futures,” he says. 

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Hallway lounge area
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Food.com
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Collaborative Media Room

INSIDE NEWHOUSE III

Among the highlights of the new building are the following:

The Center for Digital Convergence Suite, under the co-direction of faculty members from Newhouse and the School of Information Studies, supports convergent journalism through a variety of activities, including the ongoing development of tools. The centerpromotes research and experimentation in media convergence in pursuit of understanding the future of digital media and engaging students and faculty in the process of defining that future.

The Collaborative Media Room, home to the highest concentration of technology in the building, permits students and faculty from all Newhouse disciplines to work together on projects. The space functions as a newsroom, incorporating an eight-person editing rim, an assignment desk, and a meeting room, and is electronically linked to editing suites, studios, broadcast journalism and Macintosh labs, and other facilities in the Newhouse complex. The space is designed to grow and respond to emerging technologies.

The Barney Light Center for Inquiry, Innovation, and Imagination, also known as the I-3 Center, focuses the school’s energy on productivity in all areas of mass media. Here, students and faculty gather, process, and present data for research related to specific courses or to faculty-industry projects. The center is meant to preserve and promote one of the school’s most important attributes—the healthy synergy between the professional and academic components of the faculty and the curriculum.

The expanded Career Development Center (CDC) is dedicated to serving Newhouse students in their career searches, allowing them to explore post-graduation options. Formerly located in Newhouse I, CDC’s highly popular resource and reference area is now larger and provides greater access to information about job and internship opportunities. It also includes new space for workshops, resume critiquing sessions with CDC staff, and other purposes. In addition, a large bank of computers links students with alumni through the Newhouse Alumni Career Advisory Network, a database of more than 3,800 alumni who serve as contacts for students seeking information, internships, job leads, and general guidance.

The Executive Education Suite houses the school’s successful independent study degree program in communications management and supports expanded offerings in non-traditional graduate education, as well as professional development workshops and seminars.

The Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture examines the role of entertainment television in shaping popular culture. The center’s director, Professor Robert Thompson, is a nationally recognized expert in the history of prime-time television and an astute chronicler of TV’s impact.

The Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, named for Newhouse alumna and University Trustee Joyce Hergenhan ’63, seats 350, providing the school with much-needed space for such events as guest lectures, conferences, student activities, and large class gatherings.

New classrooms include two 50-seat rooms and a 100-seat theater-style screening room.

Student organization offices serve the 12 student organizations tied to the school or various media professions, and encourage the growth and activity of these groups by providing space in which to carry out administrative operations.

Food.com, a dining area, serves as the heart of the building, a true community center for informal interaction, as well as lunchtime meetings and spur-of-the-moment collaboration. Easily the most highly trafficked area in its original Newhouse II location, Food.com has grown significantly in Newhouse III, with more seating and expanded kitchen and service areas.

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NEW BUILDINGS, NEW RESOURCES

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Life Sciences Complex, under construction

From the downtown site of the new Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (CoE) to the first new Main Campus residence hall under construction in more than 40 years, Syracuse University is in the midst of a building boom. “In an era of technological spiral across the disciplines and constant refinements to the tools of teaching, we build for quality, not quantity,” Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina says. “When we invest in new spaces—whether for teaching, research, or student life—we must be sure we are also creating new resources that enable us to do new and better things.” Spina points to Newhouse III and the Life Sciences Complex, with their laboratories and classrooms specially designed for contemporary team-based learning in subjects that, in some cases, did not exist a generation ago. “These are striking examples of the educational impact new buildings can have,” he says. “Life Sciences is not even open yet—and it’s already a factor in recruiting faculty and students.”

Here is an update on current construction projects:

Life Sciences Complex, College Place: This 225,000-square-foot building is the University’s largest, most ambitious construction project. It will bring the biology, chemistry, and biochemistry departments and related programs under one roof for the first time in SU history. Estimated cost: $107 million. Status: Fully enclosed, fall 2007; scheduled for use in the 2008-09 academic year.

Link Hall addition, east side of the Quad: Built in 1970 with an interior capacity of 102,532 square feet, Link is adding 13,000 square feet to accommodate the new three-story Structural Engineering Laboratory for the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, and a new air-quality testing laboratory and Main Campus office space for the Syracuse CoE.  Estimated cost: $7.3 million. Status: Available for use, late winter or early spring, 2008.

New residence hall, Comstock Avenue at Waverly Avenue: Covering approximately 140,000 square feet, this nine-story structure will offer 250 student residents a mix of room types and amenities, as well as a 500-seat dining facility, a 10,600-square-foot recreation facility, and 2,000 square feet of academic space. Described as a student-life complex, it is specifically designed to accommodate student learning communities. Estimated cost: $54 million. Status: Scheduled for use during the 2009-10 academic year.

Slocum Hall renovation, College Place: A 1918 building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Slocum serves as home to the School of Architecture. A three-year technological and functional makeover and aesthetic restoration required the building’s closure. When completed, Slocum will have a new auditorium and gallery; expanded studio, research, and office space; and a restored atrium. Estimated cost: $19 million. Status: Scheduled to reopen in June 2008.

Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, Erie Boulevard East at Almond Street: This high-tech research and development “green” building, featuring a geothermal heating and cooling system, will rise on a former brownfield to house a consortium of academic and commercial partners led by SU. Its design was included in the 2006 National Design Triennial, a major exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City. Estimated cost: $31.55 million. Status: Construction to be completed in January 2009.           

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DEDICATION DAY

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At right, U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. delivers the keynote address for the Newhouse III dedication in Hendricks Chapel. Above, Roberts speaks with Newhouse Dean David M. Rubin as they follow the SU Ancient Drum Corps during the procession from Hendricks Chapel to Newhouse III. Also joining in the procession are S.I. Newhouse Jr. ’49 (far left) and his brother, SU Trustee Donald Newhouse ’51.

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DEDICATION DAY

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Erik Chaput, a graduate student in history at the Maxwell School, asks Chief Justice Roberts a question. Chaput was a member of a group of graduate and undergraduate students selected by the deans of SU’s schools and colleges to meet with Roberts during his visit to campus.

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U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. (left), Trustee Donald Newhouse ’51, Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Susan Newhouse, and Dean David M. Rubin listen to remarks at the dedication ceremony.
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S.I. Newhouse Jr. ’49, with Susan and Donald Newhouse ’51
QUOTES
OF NOTE

“This building has been a long time in coming. It completes a dream of a three-building complex originally proposed more than 45 years ago, when a Newhouse communications complex was conceived.”

“Newhouse III embodies the ideal of freedom of the press literally. The sweep of the glass façade inscribed with the words of the First Amendment expresses the commitment by Syracuse University to educate the leaders of the unencumbered press of tomorrow.”

 “Just as Newhouse has physically developed with its newest elements complete, my fellow students and I, as a result of our education here, have matured alongside it as we’ve watched the building grow. … And now as I complete my final year at SU, this building stands as a symbol of the college’s transformation, that of its students, and as an inspiration for the future.”

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“You [students] are going to have, I hope, many wonderful memories here. One of them will be that you will forever be able to say, ‘I saw the chief justice of the United States, who cared enough about the future of communications education, and freedom of expression, to come here and share the moment.’ And don’t forget it was a beautiful day.”

“This building, designed as it is as a new gateway to this campus, is wrapped in a metaphor of transparency. It’s an homage to the freedoms of our democracy. And by doing that, it draws in not only the sense of grievance and dissent, but the sense of collective convergence, that looking out here—all these people here and more to come—this is a building that will draw all forms of publics to assemble and speak and listen.”

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