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Bradley…WTF?! (What’s the Facts)

After being at Bradley for four and a half years, I have learned and experienced a lot on this campus, much of which prob-

ably cannot be published in the Scout. However, there are quite a few stories and facts that still elude me about our beloved university. As students, we go day in and day out schlepping between buildings and classrooms that have been named for people, by people and with people’s money that we know nothing about. That’s why I am here. To find out what’s the story, what’s the history and what’s the facts?

For instance, let’s examine my favorite building on Bradley’s campus – the Hartmann Center. The Hartmann Center is the home to the Theater Department, art gallery and the Founder’s Room. The Hartmann Center’s origins date back to the Founder’s Day of 1906 when Lydia bestowed a gift for the purposes of constructing a gymnasium.

According to the book “The Forgotten Angel” by Allen A. Upton (that little book we all receive as freshman in our EHS 120 classes and are expected to read – of which admittedly, most do not) Lydia donated $75,000 for this little exercise. That’s it. If Lydia came forward with that donation today, it would barely cover the cost of the wood floor of the Performance Court in the Markin Center. But then again Bradley’s tuition in those days was roughly $5 and a bushel of potatoes, so I guess all things are relative.

Just to accentuate how different times were back then, when Lydia announced her gymnormous gift for Bradley, the students composed a song in celebration which they sang in its honor at the gym’s opening. Not in my wildest dreams could I see the students of today writing, singing, or gosh, even humming a Markin melody.

The gym remained nameless until BU reckoned it would be nice to name the building after Cecil M. Hewitt, a former professor and Vice President emeritus who passed away in the late ‘50s. However, not long after Hewitt’s name was attached to the aging structure, the student associate editor of the Scout began an eight week smear campaign against the gym’s outdated facilities in ‘63. This movement prompted the university to build a new athletics facility in ‘75, Haussler Hall, and three years later, it announced a $1.7 million project to convert the pool and gyms of Hewitt into the theater and art galleries of Hartmann.

The Hartmann Center is just the tip of the iceberg. I am positive that if you look around this cam- pus, it is crawling with curiosities, even beyond President Glasser’s distinguishable hairstyle. So join us each week as I share with you the stories of this place we call home. Some will be fun, some will be gross, some will be a combination of the two but those will either be about Heitz Hall or the Library, I promise. Either way, on your next trek across campus, I encourage you to look around and ask yourself, ‘Bradley, WTF(s)?

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