Exuberant cheers of “Move that bus! Move that bus!” echoed throughout the Cameron University campus on Wednesday, as students, faculty, staff and donors were anxious to catch a glimpse of the “Extreme Makeover – Cameron Edition: Part 2” of the old student union, now transformed into the newly opened Academic Commons. Cameron President Cindy Ross, along with Dr. Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes, Chairman of the University of Oklahoma, Cameron University and Rogers State University Board of Regents, and Cameron student Tiffany Martinez spoke during a ceremony that celebrated the dedication of the CU campus’ most recent addition.
President Ross reminded those in attendance of last year’s “Extreme Makeover – Cameron Edition” event, which launched the official start of the building’s physical transformation, and then re-played the first episode hosted by student Mark Deyesso, which featured the beginning steps in the renovation project.
Ross then emphasized the importance of the Academic Commons.
“The Academic Commons literally touches each and every student who attends Cameron University,” President Ross said, reminding attendees about the scope of the building. “The facility houses a state-of-the-art computer laboratory, a student tutoring center for multiple academic disciplines, a campus-wide information technology help desk, modern classrooms, and Cameron’s cutting-edge convergence journalism program, uniting Cameron’s print, television and online production capabilities in one location.
President Ross then acknowledged the donors who made the Academic Commons possible.
She thanked all those who contributed to the fundraising campaign and introduced the major donors who made the transformation possible. Significant contributors include The McMahon Foundation, which provided $1 million; the Cameron University Foundation with a gift of $250,000; the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, which donated $100,000; the Sarkeys Foundation, which provided a $50,000 gift; the Walton Family Foundation, which provided $25,000; Mollie Burton, who donated $20,000; and the Helen W. Holliday Foundation, which provided a gift of $10,000.
President Ross then introduced Martinez, a senior communications major who has served as producer of CUTV’s “CU News” for two semesters and is currently the news editor for The Collegian.
“The renovation of the Academic Commons has been a dream come true,” Martinez said. “The building is so well-designed. It has offices for Greek life, a tutoring center, computer labs, as well as a brand new television studio and newsroom for our convergence journalism program. The Aggie Central staff finally has a place to call home, and we couldn't be more thankful. The dedication ceremony will be one to remember because this building means so much to the students and faculty.”
Following Martinez’ remarks, President Ross noted that the building “would not be possible without the leadership and guidance of our governing Regents.” She introduced the members of the Board of Regents, and welcomed Rainbolt-Forbes, Chairman, to the podium.
Dr. Rainbolt-Forbes, speaking on behalf of the Regents, expressed that the Regents were looking forward to seeing the Academic Commons for the first time. She also referenced how the Academic Commons adds to Cameron’s complete transformation over the past eight years, joining the McMahon Centennial Complex, Bentley Gardens, CETES, the CETES Conference Center, and the School of Business Building.
After thanking the donors for making the Academic Commons possible and reminding students that the building is a great resource for their success, Dr. Rainbolt-Forbes concluded with “I commend Cameron for keeping student learning at the forefront of its decisions as exemplified by this new, state-of-the-art academic building.”
President Ross teased the audience with a second video, also hosted by Deyesso. Then the Aggie cheerleading squad took center stage and led attendees in joyful cheers of “Move that bus!,” cuing the departure of the Cameron Aggie Bus, which was blocking the entrance to the building. The bus’s departure revealed Ole Kim, who invited guests inside the building to see the transformation for themselves.
September 19, 2012