Incoming students gather there as a class to attend the Convocation ceremony that brings them officially into the life of the College and, four years later, for the Commencement exercises that send them into the world. And of course it’s a key location for the annual Reunion festivities—the place where alumni reconnect with the College and each other.
The Class of 2015, which celebrated its Commencement May 23, will be the last grads to have experienced Lafayette before the heart of campus was transformed through the generosity and vision of donors who were able look past roads, traffic, and parked cars and see a very different, more beautiful and more welcoming campus core.
Gone are the cars, standing water after rains, and paths in the grass carved by feet where no walkways existed. All good, says Brittany Powell ’15:
I love the changes! Lafayette has never looked better. The development of the Quad has made Lafayette surpass just beautiful and become the quintessential college campus. It has made our campus aesthetically pleasing, relaxing, and practical.”
–Brittany Powell ’15
The project’s first phase, completed during the Class of ’15’s first year, included the transformation of Pardee Drive into a decorative brick pathway and the creation of a striking addition to the central campus, Anderson Courtyard. Bordered by Acopian Engineering Center, Hugel Science Center, and Watson Hall, it is named for Carl G. Anderson Jr. ’67 and Deborah B. Anderson P’01. It’s a popular venue for student activities, including festivities during Homecoming.
By the time the Class of ’15 took first-semester finals during their sophomore year, the streets and parking spaces that had surrounded the Quad for decades had been removed, and the center of campus was a pedestrian area networked with paths made of local materials including brick and Pennsylvania bluestone. Part of the lawn had been re-graded and sodded, and an irrigation system installed. Landscaping improvements included the addition of nearly 100 trees, 1,600 shrubs, and thousands of groundcover plantings.
“A big part of why I chose Lafayette is because it is beautiful,” says Powell, who graduated with a self-designed major in child development and social inequality and was a member of the track and field team. “The development of the Quad has made Lafayette surpass just beautiful and become the quintessential college campus. It has made our campus aesthetically pleasing, relaxing, and practical.”
The Quad is the heart of the College, the center of activity where all roads cross, where new friends meet and old friends gather. It personifies the Live Connected campaign slogan. We wanted to help ensure that it would always be an attractive, functional centerpiece for students, alumni, and all who see our campus.”
–Barbara Levy ’77 and Joe Hollander P’11’14
“I have long believed Lafayette has one of the most beautiful settings among northeastern colleges,” Carl Anderson says. “When we saw the planners’ idea of removing the roads and expanding the Quad during a meeting of the Trustees’ grounds and buildings committee, it seemed like a wonderful idea. Debbie and I were delighted to have the opportunity to provide a bit of help in the area between the engineering and science buildings. During my years as an engineering student, I always thought that space could use some upgrading. Today, it and the rest of the Quad are remarkably beautiful.”
The changes have not only made the campus more visually appealing, but have enhanced campus life. The number of special events held on the Quad has increased, and the space invites spontaneous Frisbee tossing, slack-lining, studying, and hanging out on benches and Adirondack chairs. The pathways, some lined with special pavers bearing the names of alumni recognized for consistent giving to the College, are situated in accordance with where the foot traffic naturally goes.
“I realized the true value after the first big rain following the completion,” says Juannell Riley ’15, a philosophy and government & law graduate who was a member of the track and field team and will attend Columbia Law School this fall. “I was able to walk across the Quad without stepping in a mud puddle or soaking my feet. The bricks provide an aesthetic boost and an increase in convenience. Plus, with no cars, it’s easier to play sports without worrying about damaging anything.”