Women on board

The Women’s Board members chat eagerly as Chris Love, executive director of the Alumni Association, leads them around the Alumni House, old fraternity quarters that the association moved into nine months ago. “We wanted it to be comfortable,” Love says, showing off the conference room and lounge. “We wanted a homey atmosphere.”

The crowd murmurs its appreciation. “It’s just so marvelous,” says one white-haired, bespectacled board member. “This is what you call giving back.”

In the lounge the two dozen women settle in for University Architect Curt Heuring’s presentation on the Master Plan. The 1999 plan, calling for the development of nine new campus buildings, is nearly complete. Now, he says, the University is looking ahead to future projects that will “create a density and vitality south of the Midway that hasn’t been there before.”

To get a closer look at the new buildings, the group boards a bus for a campus tour, guided by Robert Feitler, X’50, chair of the Master Plan Executive Committee. He points out buildings in progress such as the Interdivisional Research Building and the Chicago GSB Hyde Park Center, the plan’s remaining projects. Along the way the women meet up with Bill Michel, AB’92, assistant vice president for student life, who takes them around the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center and Max Palevsky Residential Commons.

The board members swap opinions on each building. When driving past the new GSB, one woman sniffs, “Well, it certainly doesn’t fit with the neighborhood.” And while Ratner seems to be a crowd-pleaser, the Palevsky dorm engenders more conflict. “I fell in love with the new dorms eventually,” says a young alumna, “but it took a while.” An older board member disagrees. “I love it,” she enthuses, heading out of Palevsky and back to the bus. “I love it.”

Leila S. Sales, ’06

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July 30, 2004