Ramapo’s 51st Founder’s Day was different from its usual celebration, but on Wednesday, the college managed to host a few in-person activities despite the majorly remote circumstances. One of these events included the name reveal ceremony for the upcoming Learning Commons.
The building, which will replace the George T. Potter Library and act as an expansive study space on campus, is officially titled the Peter P. Mercer Learning Commons. The space is set to open in the fall 2021 semester, after President Mercer’s retirement this spring.
“It’s quite an experience seeing one’s name on a building that will be the heart and soul of the campus,” Mercer said standing alongside his wife outside of the construction project on Wednesday. “For Jackie and me, our time here at Ramapo has been all-consuming and all-rewarding. I am glad to be leaving a piece of myself. Thank you all so much.”
Board of Trustees Chair Susan A. Vallario, who revealed the official name of the Learning Commons project, has been the leading pledge supporter for the renovation’s campaign. She has also been an active participant in the project’s task force alongside her husband, Nick Vallario, since the beginning of the process in 2016.
“At the time of our pledge, the naming rights for the new building were reserved to us, and we’ve always intended to exercise that right in a way that honors President Mercer for his outstanding service to the college over the past 15 years and for his efforts as the driving force behind the Learning Commons vision,” she said.
In comparison to the old library’s interior, the Learning Commons will be 20,000 square feet larger than the former Potter Library. This is because the new space will not just act as a library, for classroom and laboratory space, media rooms, on-site technology resources, a design laboratory, lounge seating and an on-site café are all included in the project plan.
Students will also be able to access the Ramapo College Archives, the Center for Reading and Writing, the American History Textbook Project, the Jane Addams Papers Project and the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies within the walls of the upcoming Learning Commons.
President Mercer will be the third Ramapo president that has their name recognized on a campus area. George T. Potter, Ramapo’s founding president, was recognized in the former library, and Robert A. Scott, who followed Potter’s term, is currently acknowledged in the title of the student center.