AUBG Celebrates Dedication of the New Student Center
Throughout its 20 years, AUBG has been committed to providing its students with an academic, residential and recreational experience that is, in every way, equal to or above what they would find at a quality institution in the United States. The new state-of-the-art Student Center on the grounds of the Skaptopara campus is a distinctive example of AUBG’s dedication to the quality standards of education and life of its student body. On Oct. 19th, the Student Center was dedicated with a festive celebration of the university spirit and tradition.
With nice dining facilities, a big theater hall that will host distinguished lecturers and the university renowned arts events, a world-class multi-purpose sports hall and fitness facilities, the 10,000 square meter student center makes AUBG a distinguished landmark institution and the most modern and advanced university campus in Southeast Europe.
“I am sure that many of us not even in our dreams could imagine the magnificence of this building,” said AUBG President Michael Easton, as he was opening the dedication ceremony.
The center carries the name of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, a reliable partner and supporter of AUBG. Scheduled to start its full operation in the spring semester of 2013, the center will offer a wide range of services, such as a career center, an advising and counseling center, and medical services.
“When we were working on the plan with the Board we decided to focus resources and energy on projects that will have most immediate effect on the lives of our students,” said former AUBG President David Huwiler, who broke ground on the new building together with other AUBG and ABF officials in May, 2011. “Now the reality is here and exceeds all our expectations,” he added.
At the dedication ceremony, ABF Executive Director Desislava Taliokova recalled how at the ground-breaking of the student center “we stood with just a shovel and a grand vision in the field” where the building rises today. With the new student center, she believes, AUBG will leave a path in the lives of the generations of the young individuals through top-quality opportunities to realize their potential.
Among the guests at the dedication ceremony were also the Bulgarian Minister of Education and Science Sergei Ignatov, the mayor of Blagoevgrad, Atanas Kambitov, Dimcho Tilev - the building’s chief architect, Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, Counselor for Public Affairs of the U.S. Embassy, members of the AUBG Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, and Blagoevgrad community members.
The Minister of Education and Science Mr. Sergei Ignatov congratulated AUBG on the “university leadership”, including the superiority of AUBG’s educational standards and its first-class facilities, and added that: “Academic excellence goes hand in hand with facility excellence. The beautiful building that we are dedicating today is going to be the arena for the rich community life in the American education tradition of liberal arts.”
The success of the project would not have been possible, but for a small metropolis of friends and supporters that helped AUBG implement this ambitious plan. Generous donations made it possible to finish the construction of the Student Center before the deadline. The America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) granted $8 million for the construction of the building with the aim to facilitate the development of high-quality education in the region.
“There is no organization in Bulgaria that has done more to create opportunities for Bulgaria’s young people than ABF. We are proud to have their name on this building,” Huwiler said.
Marianne Keler, chair of the AUBG Board of Trustees, expressed a deepest gratitude to the ABF and all of AUBG supporters for the tremendous generosity: “AUBG depends on benefactors such as these to fulfill its mission of academic excellence in the American liberal arts tradition.”
The architectural plan for the Center was developed by Tilev Architects, Ltd., who also designed the Balkanski Academic Center, Panitza Library, and the Skaptopara III Residence Hall.