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November 21, 2013

Math Emporium celebrates official grand opening

CSU’s new learning center welcomes community for ceremony

By Doug Vehovec

CSU President Ronald Berkman (center) lead a group of faculty, staff and the academic community in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

On Nov. 19, the Michael Schwartz Library got a chance to show off its new Math Emporium facility with a ribbon-cutting celebration to commemorate the official grand opening. Sun soaked the library’s second floor, where the lounge-like facility is located.

Students, faculty and members of the academic community gathered in the vibrantly-hued space. An iridescent ribbon stretched across the threshold leading to the state-of-the-art learning center, the mandatory giant scissors nearby at hand for its impending laceration.

Once the growing assemblage was seated, library director Glenda Thornton took the podium to welcome guests. After thanking those instrumental to getting the Math Emporium up and running, she beamed pride at the library’s opportunity to house the facility.

“It’s the perfect fit,” said Thornton. “Our mission at the library is to connect people with info. It’s not a new mission. It’s one grounded in antiquity.”

Thornton explained that since the time of the Great Library of Alexandria, libraries have been a place for scholars to correlate the past with a present purpose. She noted that a library’s greatest benefit has always been their wealth of knowledge.

Deirdre Mageean, Cleveland State provost picked up on the theme, adding that the Michael Schwartz Library has become a very vibrant place. Not a place where librarians walk around and tell everyone “shhh!” but a true center for learning.

Cleveland State President Ronald Berkman spoke next, emphasizing the open concept that the Math Emporium offers as evidence of the learning center evolution. He shared an observation that while criss-crossing campus each day, the computer lab on the Student Center’s first floor is consistently full of busy students.

“This is the new paradigm,” Berkman said. “The transition from old to new has become this open landscape configuration.”

Berkman went on to praise John Holcomb, chair of the math department, for his impact on student success. He said that two of the most influential people as regards student success at any university are the chairs of the math and English departments. He commended Holcomb for his work and invited him to take the podium.

“There are two major goals [for the Math Emporium],” said Holcomb. “The first is that we want to increase the success rate in remedial math. The second, more importantly, is to judge the success rate for the programs and courses that follow.”

After speakers concluded their remarks, aimed to express a refined message of the Math Emporium’s potential to aid student success, they were joined by several Board of Trustees members and others who championed the facility to cut the ribbon and declare the Math Emporium officially open.