The stunning transformation of an uninviting, uncomfortable, plain-vanilla classroom facility into warm and welcoming setting for collaborative learning and innovative research was abundant reason to celebrate on October 24. Curry School alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and community partners gathered under a starry sky to commemorate the completed renovation of Ruffner Hall and its significance for the future of the Curry School of Education.
Nearly 300 people gathered over the course of the evening to tour the building and reminisce with colleagues, old friends, and former professors.
The evening began with a reception and sneak preview tour for donors to Ruffner Hall and VIPs who helped make the renovation possible.
“The work of Curry’s faculty has affected every state, and countries around the globe,” said President Teresa Sullivan. “Its faculty has helped the University to be ranked among the top three institutions in faculty influence on education policy. Its graduates are scholars and practitioners who are leaders in their respective professions.”
Bob Pianta, dean of the Curry School, noted, “For me, the reopening of Ruffner marks the beginning of a new era in the school’s history, one in which our focus is truly where it needs to be – on being the most innovative and influential school in the country – an education school that truly matters for the public good. The completions of these building and renovation projects mean we are now One Curry – all of our programs, faculty, and staff together in one place.”
One highlight of the evening was the tour stop in Conference Room 206. A group of alumni from our Higher Education program (led by the efforts Jay Chronister, Faculty Emeritus) had pooled their funds to name the room in honor of alumnus Freddie Nicholas (Ed.D. ’73). Nicholas is a former chair of the Curry School Foundation Board and former member of the U.Va. Board of Visitors. He is also a past president of John Tyler Community College. The whole Nicholas family was on hand to congratulate him.
The party then moved to Breneman Courtyard between Ruffner Hall and Bavaro Hall for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We are excited that Ruffner Hall can now stand proudly alongside Bavaro Hall,” said Dean Bob Pianta. “All of us gathered here have a stake in this community and this space, and now as One Curry we have the opportunity to continue to lift our community up as a function of each individual’s work.”
Guest enjoyed music, food, drinks, and laughs as they migrated between Bavaro Hall, the courtyard, and Ruffner Hall. Of course, everyone who saw Ruffner Hall for the first time since its renovation was duly impressed!
Enjoy these photos from the evening: