‘Expect more than just a tour’

University breaks ground on new welcome center


Jordan Auker

Linda Bennett, donors and student ambassadors break ground on the Fuquay Welcome Çenter last Friday. There will be an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the center in 2018.

Last Thursday, the university broke ground on the Fuquay Welcome Center.

The groundbreaking ceremony started off with Jeffrey Knight, chair of the board of trustees, talking about how lively the university is right now.

He told a story of almost being ran over by a student on a skateboard, and then he gave the microphone off to President Linda Bennett.

Bennett introduced the notion of how necessary it is to have the welcome center.

The university sees nearly 200,000 people annually, and many of them for more than just academic purposes, Bennett said.

Bennett said “prospective students expect more than just a tour,” and she alluded to the “unique and innovative features,” the Fuquay Welcome Center will have.

The Fuquay Welcome Center will also function as a “designated space to show what makes USI special,” said Danielle Wire, the president of the Student Ambassadors.

The Welcome Center will serve as the starting point of campus tours as soon as it is built, said Evan Stieler, the co-vice president of the Student Ambassadors.

Aaron Costlow, co-vice president of the Student Ambassadors said the building will be able to seat around 200 people, and will have hours similar to many of the other buildings on campus.

The groundbreaking ceremony was also a way for the university to pay homage to the donors.

Dan and Janet Fuquay donated $1.5 million out of the $2 million that was needed before the university could begin construction on the building named after their family.

The other $500,000 was donated by Old National Bank, mainly by their CEO Bob Jones.

The ceremony concluded with the actual ground breaking. Bennett, the donors and their families and several other administrators and students picked up shovels and broke ground.

The ribbon cutting ceremony officially opening the Fuquay Welcome Center is scheduled for 2018.