The move, which took place over two snowy afternoons last January, allows the department to more comfortably house the increasing number of students who elect journalism and communication as either their major or minor. In the last 20 years, that number has grown from 20 to more than 180.
"We’re still trying to get accustomed to windows and sunlight," quips Jack Lule, the journalism professor who helped coordinate fundraising for the renovation. "But seriously: This was a magnificent renovation that kept the architectural beauty and uniqueness of the building while updating it for 21st Century journalism."
The months-long renovation of Coppee Hall--which first served as the university gymnasium and, later, as the home of the College of Arts and Sciences--was made possible largely through the generosity of Luke ’36 and Jane Weinstock.
"They and others saw this great opportunity to restore a truly historic building while also helping out a growing program," Lule says. "The Weinstock Center for Journalism will be a wonderful home."
Alumni support is key
Lule notes that dozens of alumni have given, and continue to give, to the building fund.
"It’s not only a great opportunity for our students to be able to learn and develop in this new space, but it’s a great tribute to the loyalty and generosity of alumni," he says.
In addition to the Weinstocks, other members of the planning committee included Robert J. Teufel Jr. ’59, former president of Rodale Press, Inc. and chair of the committee.; Walter J. Amoss ‘04P, editor of the New Orleans Times-Picayune; Ashford C. Bahrenburg ’97, consultant for Sports Illustrated for Women; Martin D. Baron ’76, editor of the Boston Globe; Amy Roland Churgin ’77, publisher of Architectural Digest; Michael Golden ’71, vice chairman and senior vice president of the New York Times; Jonathon I. Green ’92, partner at Targeted Financial Services; Charles F. Kalmbach ’41, president of KTA Ltd.; John F. McFadden ’70, vice president of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank; Laurence A. Reisman ’82, editor of the Vero Beach, Fla., Press Journal; Frederick S. Townsend ’58, president of Townsend and Schupp Capital Markets, Inc.; Heather Rodale Stoneback ’74, director of human resources at Rodale, Inc.; and the late Joseph A. Varilla ’59, former director of corporate communications for Xerox Corporation.
Renovations produced several classrooms on the first floor, a suite of faculty offices and a library on the second floor, and two airy, light-filled computer labs on the building’s third floor. The building will also house the editorial, business and production arms of the Brown and White and the Epitome yearbook.
"It is a much-needed and long-overdue development," says Dina Wills, director of university faculty development, who also serves as an adjunct in the department. "It’s amazing to look out and see this terrific view and appreciate what a beautiful new space we have to work with."
Students returning for last year's spring semester Jan. 13 found the classrooms ready for use, and at least one student already appreciates the expansive new space.
John Misinco ’05, who is carrying a double major in journalism and political science and is co-editor of the Epitome and news editor of the Brown and White, helped faculty and staff members settle in over the semester break.
"It’s an amazing place," he says. "To see all the space we now have and compare it to what we were used to … I don’t know how we managed all these years."