Vol. 17, No. 29April 30, 1998

Gore Hall: UD dedicates 'magnificent landmark'

Present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the entrance to Gore Hall are (from left) architect Allan Greenberg; Provost Mel Schiavelli; Joan DelFattore, English; student Douglas M. de Lorenzo; Sally Gore; Robert Gore; Genevieve Gore; Andrew B. Kirkpatrick Jr., chairman of the Board of Trustees; Gov. Thomas R. Carper; and President David Roselle.

All buildings tell stories," architect Allan Greenberg said Saturday, April 25, when UD's new classroom facility, Gore Hall, was officially dedicated.

A classic example of Georgian architecture, the 65,000-square-foot building "tells us that in a democracy, the God-like pursuit of knowledge is now available to all our children," said Greenberg, who was selected by the Trustee Visiting Committee on Architecture to design Gore Hall.

In keeping with the "academic villages" first proposed by third U.S. president and architect Thomas Jefferson, Gore Hall features a Roman temple facade, with four massive columns reflecting its status as "a temple of learning," Greenberg said.

At a time when the architecture of high school buildings too often makes them "indistinguishable from prisons," Greenberg said, UD's new classroom building "stands out as a monument to its enlightened patrons"-UD trustee Robert Gore, '59, his wife, Sarah I. Gore, '76M, and his mother, Genevieve W. Gore. The Gores contributed $17.5 million to cover the total cost of the facility.

In his remarks, President David Roselle described Gore Hall as "a magnificent landmark classroom building," which reflects the meticulous efforts of "hundreds of artisans" and completes an historic master plan for UD's scenic, tree-lined Mall.

Expressing the UD community's deep gratitude to the Gore family, Roselle said simply, "Our cup runneth over."

Featuring a three-story central atrium with a skylight-surrounded by 17 general classrooms, four seminar rooms, three tiered case-study rooms and one problem-based learning classroom-the facility exemplifies the Gore family's philosophy of "bringing people together for the exchange of knowledge," Provost Mel Schiavelli said.

As president of W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., international high-technology makers of electronic, medical, industrial and fabrics products, Gore and his extended family have championed an innovative vision of democratic management, by embracing employees as "associates," who are empowered to share ownership of the entire business enterprise.

Gore Hall reflects that ideal, Greenberg said, and its vibrant interior colors-including red foyers, varying shades of yellow on the first floor, blue on the second floor and tan on the third floor-are conducive to critical thinking and creative problem-solving.

Before designing Gore Hall, advice and input was sought from UD educators who are pioneers in problem-based learning. And, serving on the Trustee Visiting Committee on Architecture, chaired by architectural historian of the U.S. Capitol and a 1972 UD graduate, William C. Allen, are David E. Hollowell, executive vice president; Nancy du Pont Reynolds of Greenville; trustee Robert F. Rider of Bridgeville, chair of the Committee on Grounds and Buildings; William M.W. Sharp of Coatesville, Pa.; and Damie Stillman, UD's John W. Shirley Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Art History.

Not surprisingly, Schiavelli reported, "students, faculty and administrators all support the new learning environment."

Indeed, Schiavelli said, numerous faculty members submitted highly positive letters, which were assembled into an album and presented by Roselle to the Gores. Schiavelli said one "seasoned professional" wrote: "It's only natural that students should respond with renewed respect to the intellectual challenge" when confronted with such a state-of-the-art facility.

Faculty member Joan DelFattore, English, described Gore Hall as "a wonderful environment for teaching," where faculty are provided with fingertip control of the latest technologies for displaying video images and computer-based information and for controlling the classroom, including the lights and window shades. DelFattore jokingly quoted one of her students as saying, "This is the first time that I ever felt I had to live up to the furniture!"

Three case-study classrooms in Gore Hall are equipped with "Level I" audio-visual and information technologies. Among 17 such high-tech classrooms on campus, the Gore Hall Level I rooms include direct network connections, allowing faculty and students to access the Internet via laptops, if they wish. The new classrooms also let educators marry technological and traditional instruction in their courses, without having to "wheel [technology] over to the classroom," DelFattore said.

Douglas M. de Lorenzo, a member of the class of 1998 and UD's most recent Rhodes Scholar, said students are the "primary beneficiaries" of the Gore family's generous gift to UD.

With the exception of the Center for Teaching Effectiveness, which is located on the building's second floor to support instructional improvements, Gore Hall is reserved exclusively for classes.

Knowledge and education are essential to human "dignity and security," de Lorenzo said Saturday. While working as a volunteer overseas, he said, he noticed that refugees frequently returned from exile to gain access to schools for their children. Gore Hall will support "the highest quality education," he said.

-Ginger Pinholster
Photo by Jack Buxbaum