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Arena gets a new, possibly temporary, name in ceremony

Originally published October 22, 2010

Before a crowd of alumni, faculty and students, University President Joanne Glasser christened the new arena with its official name–the Renaissance Coliseum.

The arena will hold its new title for now, but the university is still hoping for a naming donation.
During Friday’s celebration of Founder’s Day, hundreds of people, including students, administrators and the Bradley graduating class of 1960 gathered to witness the dedication.

Dave Snell, the voice of the Braves, introduced a video showcasing the history of the Robertson Memorial Fieldhouse, from its creation to the ceremonial final basket, as well as the beginnings of the arena.

“As many exciting moments as I’ve had, this is at the top,” Snell said. “It has been a long and winding road that has led us to this day.”

Board of Trustees and Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance Chairman Gerald Shaheen said the arena signals a new beginning for Bradley athletics.

“This facility, as we see it, will elevate all our sports to be on equal footing with the best schools in the nation,” he said. “All we need now is an indoor practice arena for athletes’ use in the winter.”

Glasser said she hopes for arena to become a mini Civic Center on the West Bluff.

“This facility will indeed change the face of our campus forever,” she said. “I hope you find it as spectacular and impressive and as breathtaking as I do.”

Braves Council President Kourtnie Janson said for student athletes, the arena has provided the council with a new sense of pride.

“The Renaissance Coliseum is nothing less than revolutionary,” she said. “We walk through the halls with our heads high. Now when we take the court, field or course, we enter knowing we have everything needed to achieve success.”

Following the speakers, several women’s volleyball and basketball players aided in making the first basket, and the band played the fight song while confetti strands fired into the audience.

“This is beautiful, wonderful,” said ’60 graduate Fred Marcussen. “I was here when we had the Fieldhouse. This will be great to compete with other schools throughout the nation. And the new building … what a change.”

Sophomore English and Spanish major Carla Dinnocenzo said she was impressed by the presentation.

“I liked how there were some students who spoke, not just alumni,” she said. “The name took me by surprise a little, but it is nice that the arena finally has a name.”

Congressman Aaron Schock, recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Young Graduate award, said the arena was beyond any of his expectations.

“It’s fantastic, another move towards keeping Bradley a fantastic campus,” he said. “It’s important to keep the campus up to par with other schools. This really means a lot to the alumni, and ensures that the students who walk through these doors will have a great experience.”