Ceremony marks official opening of downtown campus building

Former Board of Governors chair Dave Cooke, Windsor Star scion Janet Graybiel, UWindsor president Alan Wildeman and Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens cut a ribbon to signify the official opening of the first of the University’s downtown campus buildings.
Former Board of Governors chair Dave Cooke, Windsor Star scion Janet Graybiel, UWindsor president Alan Wildeman and Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens cut a ribbon to signify the official opening of the first of the University’s downtown campus buildings.

If a university is to be relevant to the world, it must be relevant in the neighbourhood, UWindsor president Alan Wildeman said Monday during a ceremony to mark the official opening of the Pitt-Ferry Building, which houses the School of Social Work and Centre for Executive and Professional Education.

“It is for that reason that the University of Windsor made the decision to strike a new direction for its long-term future, a direction that would see it establish a presence in the heart of our city for academic programs that underscore the relevance to our community that we seek to strengthen,” Dr. Wildeman told more than 100 attendees, which included local dignitaries, university officials, and current and former staff of the Windsor Star newspaper which used to occupy the site.

“Boy, does it look better than when we were here,” said editor-in-chief Ellen van Wageningen. “Thank you for keeping this little piece of history alive.”

Wildeman unveiled three plaques that will name facilities within the building to honour supporters and benefactors:

  • the Dave Cooke Classroom for the long-time MPP and former chair of the Board of Governors;
  • the Hugh and Richard Graybiel Garden, for a former owner and general manager of the Windsor Star; and
  • the Graybiel Lobby, acknowledging the legacy of the family whose history with the newspaper spanned more than 50 years from 1918.

Following a poem by Windsor poet laureate Marty Gervais on the massive presses that ran for decades in the building, the event concluded with a ribbon-cutting in the lobby.

Watch the building take shape:

See more photos on the UWindsor Facebook page.