MacKay hosts ribbon cutting after renovations


Korrie Bysted/Iowa State Daily

Hannah Gibbs, College of Human Sciences student council president, Dr. Jonathan Wickert, senior vice president and provost, Dr. Pamela White, dean of the College of Human Sciences, and Dr. Robert Bosselman, professor and chair of apparel, events and hospitality management, cut the Ribbon at the MacKay Auditorium Rededication on Oct. 9.

Vanessa Franklin

MacKay Hall hosted a ribbon-cutting celebration to mark the completion of its recent renovations Oct. 9.

The ribbon-cutting included self-guided tours, refreshments and a short program including history of the building.

Renovations include the auditorium, the Visitor Center, the Vestibule, the Batchelder Fountains, 213 MacKay and the Tearoom.

The renovation took about 14 months to complete, becoming ready for students this fall. While MacKay is now one of the many homes to the College of Human Sciences, it was originally part of the College of Home Economics.

Preserving the history of MacKay Hall was one of the biggest challenges. MacKay Hall opened in 1911 and has seen over a century’s worth of history.

“This is one of the things that makes our campus so special,” said Jonathan Wickert, senior vice president and provost. “You see the new, cutting edge facilities and you also see us paying respect to historic buildings.

“MacKay definitely has a great history and legacy on our campus.”

Preserving this history included restoring the original floors and chandelier in the Catherine J. MacKay Auditorium [named after the first Dean of the College of Home Economics from 1911 to 1921] and the Batchelder tiles in the fountains. The tiles used in the fountains are extremely rare and can cost up to $600 per tile.

“A lot of the original artwork and detail is exactly the same as it was,” said Robert Bosselman, professor and chair of apparel, events and hospitality management. “It was simply brought back to it’s original state. We tried to maintain all the history.”

The renovations were designed to combat the rising enrollment of the College of Human Sciences.  According to Pamela White, dean of the College of Human Sciences, enrollment for the college has increased 52 percent in the past nine years and 6.2 percent in the last year.

“Completing this project could not have come at a better time,” Wickert said. “We are in our sixth year of record enrollment on campus. A lot of that growth is happening here in the College of Human Sciences.”

The ribbon cutting organizer was Natasha Banks, senior in event management, who was awarded an internship with the College of Human Sciences. Banks began working on the project around the end of the spring semester last year.

“I did a lot of the planning on my own and just consulted with the [ribbon cutting] committee on my plans and my ideas,” Banks said. “I definitely think it was an amazing learning experience. I wasn’t planning the event on my own, but in a way I was.”

Banks researched MacKay Hall to prepare for the ribbon cutting, along with creating a powerpoint presentation on MacKay, working with student organizations to provide refreshments and creating programs.

“For everyone that comes, it’s going to be a reflection of my work, so that’s kind of intimidating,” Banks said. “It was definitely a great starting point for my career.”