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Groundbreaking for Buller Hall

Date: May 3, 2010

The winds of change were blowing—quite literally—as the groundbreaking ceremony for Buller Hall commenced Friday morning, April 30, in the heart of the campus of Andrews University. Nearly 250 gathered just outside the now-empty Griggs Hall as University administration, lead donors Allan and Mickey Buller, and faculty formally turned the first shovels of dirt for the new Undergraduate Learning Center.
Against a backdrop of construction equipment poised to bring down Griggs Hall and the sounds of a brass quintet, President Niels-Erik Andreasen welcomed all in attendance, including special guests Sir Patrick Allen, governor-general of Jamaica and his wife Lady Allen, and Ambassador Peter N.R. Ogego, Kenyan Ambassador to the United States, to this historic occasion. “We have waited a long time for this moment but it was worth the wait,” began Andreasen. He recounted a bit of the project’s 16-year history beginning with the idea for a renovation of Nethery Hall, then a consideration to replace Griggs Hall, culminating in the current plans to construct the new Buller Hall as part of the Undergraduate Learning Center. “We want to create a teaching and learning home where students and teachers have daily meetings of minds that inform, inspire and support the finest ideas the Seventh-day Adventist Church has developed since the first Adventist University—Andrews University—was established in 1874,” said Andreasen.
Following a word of prayer from Keith Mattingly, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Interim Provost Bill Richardson gave an historical perspective of Griggs Hall, a building Richardson taught in for 21 years. As a former member of the Department of Religion & Biblical Languages faculty, he recalled the many times he had to wait for the crowd to thin a bit before he could navigate the glutted hallways of Griggs back to his office from the classroom. He pondered the many years of life and learning that took place in its classrooms, saying, “If the bricks could speak, I think those stories would be numberless. But bricks and mortar are made of earth so by their very nature, they are temporary. They have served us well, but the time has come to improve the environment of learning. The old building might disappear but not the memories.”
“It has been said that anticipation is greater than realization. If that’s true, we’ve had
plenty of time to anticipate. But Dr. Andreasen, you’re right: this delay has enabled us to
think bigger and plan bigger,” said lead donor Allan Buller. (Photo by IMC photographer
Martin Lee)

Paul Stokstad, co-chair of the President’s Council, offered a perspective on the Undergraduate Learning Center building project, paying special tribute to its lead donors, Allan and Mickey Buller. “Allan was just the type of person for whom to name a building: an undergraduate degree from Andrews, president of the student body and president of his senior class. He is a member of what today we call “the greatest generation.” Allan traded his graduation gown for an armed services uniform the day he graduated,” said Stokstad. He then recounted how the Bullers were content to put the project on hold time and again, allowing other worthy and needed projects to become a reality at Andrews University. First came the Seminary expansion, then a gift to build the Howard Performing Arts Center, and ending with a surprise gift that provided for building the new entrance, constructing a new milking parlor and renovating Dining Services. Then came the day in 2009 when the President’s Council reiterated the obvious: with a growing undergraduate enrollment, Andrews needed Buller Hall. “Yes, the economy was at its lowest, but so were interest rates and building costs,” recalled Stokstad. “At the close of one of the meetings, one member said, ‘Let’s borrow and let’s build.’….And here we are today: ready to build.”
Ending the program portion of the groundbreaking, Allan Buller said a few words of thanks to all who supported this project. “It has been said that anticipation is greater than realization. If that’s true, we’ve had plenty of time to anticipate. But Dr. Andreasen, you’re right: this delay has enabled us to think bigger and plan bigger,” said Buller.
Andreasen presented the Bullers with a ceremonial gold shovel engraved with the words “Buller Hall Groundbreaking, April 30, 2010.”
The 27 members of the groundbreaking shovel brigade formally break ground for the
new Buller Hall. (Photo by IMC student photographer Katelin Mitchell)

David Faehner, vice-president for University Advancement, introduced the 27 members of the groundbreaking shovel brigade, each one with a Buller Hall hardhat and a shovel in hand. The shovel brigade included: Niels-Erik Andreasen, president; Bill Richardson, interim provost; Pat Mutch, chair of the 1997 Nethery Steering Committee; Paul Stokstad, co-chair, President’s Council; Chuck Randall, co-chair, President’s Council; Barbara Randall, member of the Board of Trustees; Keith Mattingly, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences; Allan and Mickey Buller, lead donors; Don Livesay, president of the Lake Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Larry Schalk, vice-president for Financial Administration; David Faehner, vice-president for University Advancement; Dick Scott, director of facilities management; Paul Petersen, chair of the Department of Religion & Biblical Languages; Gary Land, chair of the Department of History & Political Science; Duane McBride, chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences; Douglas Jones, chair, Department of English; Delyse Steyn, chair of the Department of Communication; Curtis VanderWaal, chair of the Department of Social Work; Pedro Navia, chair of the Department of International Language Studies; Monique Pittman, director of the J.N. Andrews Honors Program; Donald May, associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and director of General Education & Student Retention; Carletta Witzel, director of the Student Success Center; Jeanette Bryson, director of the Center for Intensive English Programs; Sam Jones, a representative from The Troyer Group; and Curt Petersen, a representative from CSM Group.
The construction of Buller Hall is scheduled for completion in May 2011. At that time, renovation of Nethery Hall, including the installation of heating and air-conditioning, complete renovations of restrooms, installation of energy-efficient windows and renovation of office spaces, will be completed in August 2011.

-Written by Keri Suarez, media relations specialist, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication

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