Vol. 12. No. 2
Fall 2002


It was 25 years in the making, but the result is certainly a payoff for the patience of the math department.

The LeRoy Cowles Building, the northwestern neighbor of the Park Building on Presidents Circle, opened its new doors this past year to reveal a sparkling renovation of wood, stone, and light, a combination of clean modern lines and historical integrity. "We basically gutted the building except for the walls and floor beams," says Mehrdad Samie of FFKR Architects. "But the original profile was replicated and copied in everything."

"The department is very happy with the result," says Jim Carlson, chair of the math department. After waiting so long, the department knew just what it needed: sufficient office space, more and better classroom and computer space close to offices, and a center where students could study, use computers, and receive academic help. "The new T. Benny Rushing Mathematics Student Center is a dream come true, and student reaction has been positive beyond all expectation," says Carlson.

A new exposed-beam loft space — added where original cupolas housed exhaust fans that are no longer needed — will become a student study area, if additional funding to finish the work can be secured.

In addition, a plaza connecting the Cowles Building to the Widtsoe Building has created a "wonderful side benefit of the project," according to Carlson, "a public space where people gather." One other benefit: new lobby artwork on the west side, "Numbers and Measure 2001-2" by Anna Campbell Bliss. Eighteen plates explore "the range and influence of mathematics in related disciplines, art and culture," including poetry, choreography, Euclidian geometry, and Islamic calligraphy — an exploration that expands our very notion of mathematics.

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