Fall 2014

In Vivo

Dean Kate VandenBosch

A dean’s loss is our students’ gain—and I couldn’t be more pleased about it. I’m referring to the beautiful Queen Anne home—in the middle of what is now Allen Centennial Gardens—that was built in 1896 to serve as the residence of the dean of CALS. Apparently it was part of an incentive package to keep our first dean, William Henry, from being lured away to Stanford or Cornell.

Deans Harry Russell and Chris Christensen lived there during their tenures, followed by Dean E.B. Fred, who stayed on in “Lake Dormer,” as it was called, even after he had become UW president (and in fact, even after he retired). Fred was the last dean to reside there. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and over the years has housed various administrative offices, none of them involving direct use by and for our students.

Until now. As you may know, CALS is home to nearly 40 student organizations representing the many interests, passions and professional aspirations one might expect from a college spanning 24 majors. Clubs are extraordinarily important in many students’ lives. They not only serve as the hub of social activities but also allow students to do the kind of hands-on work that synthesizes what they’ve learned from many different fields of knowledge in the classroom.

“It’s an amazing gift to our students, and one that will certainly help CALS grow the future.”

But up to now, the space students have had for their clubs—for meetings, for storage, for office equipment—has been very much catch-as-catch-can.

Students are squeezed for space for other enriching, future-directed activities as well. For example, CALS Career Services—the folks who offer students assistance in finding internships and jobs, including holding mock interviews and “etiquette” dinners—do not have dedicated space for those activities, nor are there adequate, modern facilities allowing corporate recruiters to conduct interviews with CALS students on campus.

Our popular Study Abroad programs, offering students unparalleled opportunities to participate in learning, research and community service all around the world, are run in spaces that are inadequate for their high demand. And alumni groups wishing to interact with students—to offer presentations, help with projects or simply get to know them better—have no space in which to center their activities.

Now we can only say: Thank you, Dean Henry! And thanks to the thoughtful leaders in CALS and the greater campus community who recognize how important all of these “beyond classroom” experiences are to the quality of education we offer our students. Renovations have begun, and in 2016 we plan to open the former CALS Dean’s Residence as a home to a rich array of student experiences—including clubs, Career Services and Study Abroad—that help make CALS CALS. It’s an amazing gift to our students, and one that will certainly help CALS grow the future.

For more on the building’s history, see “Agricultural Dean’s House”.

To contribute to the building renovation fund, please click here.

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