Our New Location

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6:34 p.m., April 11, 2006--UD's Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures has a new home, Jastak-Burgess Hall on the North Green near Old College, named in honor of two longtime University benefactors--alumna Sarah Jastak-Burgess, who received her master's degree in 1954 and her doctorate in 1963 and is a recipient of UD's Medal of Distinction, and Leslie M. Burgess, who received his bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his MBA from Harvard University.

In a resolution naming the building last December, the University's Board of Trustees noted that the Burgesses are “world travelers having a deep interest in cultural exchange and the well-being of the University's cultural atmosphere and have supported cultural and artistic life of the University for many years.” Long active in the art world as collectors and philanthropists, the couple has donated significant collections of amber, Russian icons, sculpture and art from around the world to the University.

Jastak-Burgess Hall incorporates two former fraternity houses, Sigma Phi Epsilon (1922) and Sigma Nu (1929), both designed by architects Day & Klauder, who also planned the 40 acres that comprise or border The Green, purchased for the University in 1915 by P.S. du Pont.

The Rollins Conference Center

In 2005, the original buildings were joined together through the construction of a central structure with an entranceway and elevator. The renovated building houses approximately 60 faculty offices and other office space, a language laboratory and the Rollins Conference Center.

The addition added approximately 5,400 gross square feet to the existing 21,500 gross square feet, and the project cost approximately $8 million.

The entranceway features a portico with white columns, leading inside to a reception area with indoor pillars and stairways with white balustrades leading to different levels of the building.

Sarah Jastak-Burgess
Leslie M. Burgess

At the south end of the building is the Rollins Conference Center, furnished with a large conference table and chairs used by the late John W. Rollins Sr., noted local business executive, and donated by his wife Michele. A large fireplace flanked by glass-fronted cabinets, which will be used for special displays, dominates the room, and a credenza, antique breakfront and Oriental rug complete the furnishings.

On the ground floor is a state-of-the-art language laboratory, with carrels for different languages. Each compartment is labeled by cities--Nice, Genoa, Berlin, Barcelona and others--to guide students to the right area. In addition to German, Spanish, French and Italian, students also may study Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Hebrew there.

The space formerly occupied by the department in Smith Hall will house the Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

The architect for the renovation was Anderson, Brown, Higley Associates of Wilmington, and the project was coordinated by Larry McGuire, senior project manager, Facilities Planning and Construction.

Article by Sue Moncure
Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson