Smith Campus Center Dedication Ceremony Features Faust, Bacow, Donor
With live music, free food, and speeches from a litany of Harvard administrators and donors, the newly-renovated Smith Campus Center was ceremonially inaugurated Thursday evening, the culmination of a planning and building process that spanned the terms of multiple Harvard presidents.
The 10-story facade, replete with study areas, restaurants, and meeting rooms, is located on Massachusetts Avenue just outside the gates of Harvard Yard.
“This is a dream come true,” said former University President Drew G. Faust, who helped oversee the project during her 11-year tenure, which ended in July.
University President Lawrence S. Bacow echoed Faust’s sentiments, calling the center a “welcoming front door” to Harvard.
“This is what this space should be like,” he said. “This is the heart of our campus.”
Richard A. Smith ’64 and his late wife Susan F. Smith donated an undisclosed amount to the University to finance the renovations. Speaking at Thursday’s event, he said the eponymous campus center reflected the “One Harvard” initiative that comprised a staple of Faust’s presidency.
“‘One Harvard’ meant no more dividing the social experience and the learning experience of conviviality and conversation and working with and alongside students,” Smith said. “It was all dispersed.”
“It was done in the Houses and in the graduate schools,” he added. “Believe it or not, Harvard University — as the leading university in the world, and I don’t think there’s too much of a contest for that designation — didn’t have a central campus facility.”
Multiple students at the Thursday event praised the Center’s renovations. Illan E.R. Freudman ’22 said the numerous study spaces throughout the renovated building would provide a much “nicer” place to meet fellow students to work or relax.
Justin Y. C. Wong ’22 said he particularly liked the new 10th floor area, replete with lounges and a game room, as well as the numerous restaurants throughout the building.
“Most of the rest of the school is kind of decentralized,” he said. “But this is a good place to be and hang out with people.”
— Staff writer Jonah S. Berger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jonahberger98.