The CEU community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University, gathered May 9 in the construction area of Nador utca 15 in Budapest to celebrate laying the foundations for the renewed downtown campus. At this historic moment in the University’s history, the plans for the campus development in 1993 as well as the plans for the current redevelopment were ceremonially placed in the foundation of the building.
“Our academic foundations are strong. Now it is time for physical renewal,” said President and Rector John Shattuck, at the event, following a welcome by Zofia Pazitna, CEU alumna and project officer in the Campus Redevelopment Office. The rector continued with a vision for the renewed campus.
“We have launched the redevelopment of our campus with bold determination,” he said. “Our new campus will reflect the University’s growth and match its ambitions. It will beautifully reflect CEU’s open society mission, while preserving the architectural and historical heritage of this great city.”
Following the rector, University Professor Tibor Varady reflected on the developments he has seen over his 23 years at CEU, nearly the entire history of the University, which turns 25 in 2016.
“In 1993, I said that all what we have is the future. Now we have more. We have more than two decades of experience, we have a community which shares a spirit of openness. This spirit has sometimes been shaped sometimes along history, sometimes in spite of history. This spirit needed – and needs – a home. Both literally, and in a metaphorical sense.”
Varady explained how CEU has built a home in downtown Budapest, and that the University has arrived at a new milestone in building its home.
“And let me mention a simple truth: in order to have open doors – we also need a house. I trust that we are now laying down the foundations of both a wonderful house – and of open doors.”
Student Union President Shirlene Afshar Vogl, who will graduate in June with a degree in public policy, followed with the experiences of a student
“From excavations and findings of historic landmarks to discussion forums, students have been able to partake in this exciting expedition from the start and help mold the future CEU campus,” she said. “I am sure students past, present, and future will be thrilled to visit Nador utca to where they will come to either be welcomed at their new home away from home or reminisce about the meaningful time spent here.”
Library Director Diane Geraci spoke about the new library that will occupy much of the new building at Nador utca 15. The CEU Library “will carry on its traditional values of promoting openness and tolerance, with a view to the Danube and to what used to be called Roosevelt Ter. It was Roosevelt who said, “libraries … are essential to the functioning of a democratic society.” Indeed, past and current affairs suggest libraries will endure, CEU’s prominently among them.”
At this point in the ceremony, Xenia Shevnina, a 2004 graduate of the Department of Political Science and alumni chapter leader for Russia, and Saif Ullah Nasar, a student in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, carried the metal capsule containing the building plans to its resting place in the foundation. Representatives of general contractor Market-Strabag covered the capsule with fresh cement, a stone was placed upon it, and Rector Shattuck tapped the four corners of the stone to complete the ceremony.