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At Last, the Doors Are Open for Stokes Hall

Symbol of BC's 'enduring commitment' to liberal arts

After two years of construction, Stokes Hall formall opened to the Boston College community on Monday. The 183,000 square-foot building houses classrooms and offices for several humanities departments.

By Jack Dunn | Director of News & Public Affairs

Published: Jan. 17, 2013

Stokes Hall, Boston College’s 183,000 square-foot humanities building and nod to liberal arts education, officially opened with the start of classes on Monday after two years of construction.

The new $78 million facility, which is strategically designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among BC’s humanities departments and enhanced student-faculty interaction, provides 36 new state-of-the-art classrooms and 200 faculty offices for the Classical Studies, English, History, Philosophy and Theology departments.

The building also includes space for the Academic Advising Center, College of Arts and Sciences Honors Department and Office of First Year Experience, as well as common areas, conference rooms, a coffee shop and an outdoor garden and plaza that provide multiple meeting spaces to connect students and faculty.

“Stokes Hall embodies Boston College’s enduring commitment to the liberal arts, which is a cornerstone of Jesuit education and the heart of our identity,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean David Quigley.  “Humanities in particular form the core of our undergraduate requirements, which enables us to integrate the academic, social and spiritual development of our students as they study here.  This building is intentionally designed to support that liberal arts commitment and to foster student formation through enhanced student-faculty interaction.”

Added Executive Vice President Patrick Keating, “Stokes Hall provides the ideal facility to enhance the educational and formational experiences of our students in a way that honors our institutional commitment to the liberal arts and to student formation.  It is an exciting time for the University.”

Named after a $22 million gift from BC alumnus and businessman Patrick T. Stokes, Stokes Hall is the first of four academic buildings scheduled to be built on the BC campus as part of Boston College’s $1.6 billion Strategic Plan.  It represents one of the largest investments in a liberal arts facility in the United States in the past five years.
Kathleen Wendt, associate principal and director of interior design at Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, which designed the building, called its design “groundbreaking” and an affirmation of Boston College’s commitment to liberal arts education.

“We listened to and understood Boston College’s emphasis on the humanities as the fundamental foundation for learning, leadership and service to the community,” said Wendt. “Stokes Hall’s architecture reinforces this principle and sets the tone for the student experience by strategically locating key liberal arts departments, programs and services in one building to foster faculty-student interaction and build community.” 

Wendt said the humanities departments are specifically designed to share floors to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as to maximize faculty interaction with students. They also feature collaborative work zones throughout faculty office areas and seminar rooms that can be reconfigured for various-sized lectures or discussions.       
“One hundred years ago, when Boston College moved to Chestnut Hill, its distinguishing feature was an English Collegiate Gothic building that suggested connections to the great liberal arts universities of Europe,” said Quigley.
“Stokes Hall continues that sense of tradition and the expression of transcendence in its academic goals, yet with the wonderful 21st-century openness and sensibility in the architecture, internal spaces and building flow. It is a great addition to the University as it celebrates its 150th anniversary.”