by Marla Gagne
After four weeks on vacation, students returned to Providence College preparing for a new semester, fighting the long bookstore lines, and reuniting with friends. But a new buzz also filled the air as students, faculty, and staff explored PC’s newest campus addition-The Arthur F. and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies. The PC School of Business (PCSB), established in 2007, now has a new home in the Ryan Center.
The 64,000 square foot building that connects a new addition to the remains of a former residence hall, Dore Hall, will serve students in undergraduate accountancy, finance, marketing, and management programs along with the graduate MBA program.
Construction began in 2015 with the demolition of Dore Hall and continues into 2017 as construction workers put finishing touches on the building. The Ryan Center, which cost $30 million to build, is named after alumnus Arthur Ryan ’63 ’90Hon and his wife, Patricia, who donated five million dollars to the Center. The building is designed with technologically advanced classrooms, new study spaces, conference rooms, computer labs, faculty offices, and a café.
Students walking into the Ryan Center Tuesday morning for their first day of classes were greeted by a glass atrium and an open space lobby filled with couches, tables, and chairs for students to socialize, study, and relax. Natural light flooded the room, a result of the atrium glass and the halo skylights installed in the ceiling.
New classrooms are equipped with advanced technology, large conference tables spread throughout the room, and white boards covering multiple walls. Students may also use collaboration rooms, which allow small study groups to reserve rooms and work together in a quiet place equipped with white boards and a television.
Dr. Daniel Horne, associate dean of the PCSB, emphasized how this facility allows professors to teach in a new way and “move towards active learning.” Many current classrooms are set up lecture style, having the professor stand at the front of the room and talk to students. The new classrooms, however, are made for collaboration and a two way street for knowledge.
Professors can more openly walk around the room, teach and write on the board from multiple angles, and transfer images on student computers to the larger screen. Dr. Horne believes this collaborative learning will allow students and professors to communicate and learn more effectively.
The Center also includes a 125 seat lecture hall, computer labs, and the Finance Lab. The Lab will house the Bloomberg terminals, allowing student investors to track the markets in real time.
Despite the building hosting the PCSB, all students are encouraged to use the building resources. Madeline Parmenter, director of media relations, said all majors are welcomed as study rooms are a “space for everybody,” just as the Ruane Center for the Humanities welcomes all. The building will be open from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and will extend its hours to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
One of the biggest features of the Center for students and staff is the new café. The new food spot, Eaton Street Café, boasts a deli, grill, bakery goods, and Starbucks coffee. Sandella’s and Friar Buyer, once located in Davis Hall, are now located in the new café and still allow students to use Friar Bucks.
Students can go seven days a week and also experience the new option of a late night take out window. The walk-up station, open Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays from 12-2 a.m., offers classic burgers, chicken patties, cheese quesadillas, tater tots, and more
Students and faculty from all disciplines have continually visited the Center, checking out the new study spaces and, more commonly, the coffee options. This greater connection with upper campus was a major goal of the College, which aimed to connect upper and lower campus and fuse business studies with a liberal arts education.
In the groundbreaking of the Ryan Center in October 2015, president of PC, Fr. Brian Shanley, O.P., said, “You’re going to get a great business education from a terrific faculty, but you’re also going to get a liberal arts education. You’re going to have both sides—business expertise, and the kind of mind and heart that comes from the liberal arts.”
On Jan. 24, an informal opening for the Center will be hosted at the Ryan Center, while an official dedication is planned for Saturday, April 29. The Ryan Center not only allows students to celebrate 100 years of tradition and history, but to continue to make it.