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Humanities Hall Dedication
Humanities Hall Dedication

Oxford College Dean Douglas A. Hicks was joined by Emory President Gregory L. Fenves last week to rededicate and reopen the newly renovated Humanities Hall.

"Great things have happened here over the last 150 years," says Hicks. "Humanities Hall has always been a central academic building where our core mission happens — teaching in classrooms and student mentoring in faculty offices. With this remarkable renovation, we succeeded in modernizing those spaces while maintaining the building's historic character."

Humanities Hall has been one of the central academic buildings at Oxford since its construction in 1875. Over the years, it has had many names — Science Hall, Chemistry Hall, History Hall — but it has always been at the center of Oxford's mission.

"Historically, Oxford College serves as Emory's cornerstone where the very roots of the university first took hold, growing deep and strong," says Fenves. "Today, Oxford provides an unparalleled residential liberal arts education for some of the best students in the country and around the world. I know these renovated spaces will serve our students well, creating new opportunities for reflection and discovery."

Emory President Gregory L. Fenves and Oxford College Dean Douglas A. Hicks

Emory President Gregory L. Fenves and Oxford College Dean Douglas A. Hicks

Many of the original architectural details were preserved, both on the exterior and interior of the building. Inside, there are new offices for faculty and staff, state-of-the-art classrooms, and dedicated space and technology for film and media studies. Most important, the Hall is fully accessible to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

Says Danielle Miller, chief business officer and senior associate dean of Oxford, "Planning for the renovation of Humanities Hall started in 2019. Somewhere in the middle, COVID happened. But our talented team kept moving forward through construction, making this building better than we even imagined it could be."

The renovation was a collaborative process with Smith Dalia Architects and the Structor Group, with input from faculty and staff.

"I am grateful to have been part of the process that kept the focus on faculty needs and the student experience," says Ken Anderson, dean for academic affairs and chief academic officer. "We now have both new and refurbished faculty offices and a beautiful and technologically advanced theater, in addition to a fully functioning seminar room."

During the project, crews uncovered unique architectural features and found interesting clues to Humanities Hall's past, including an old pew in the attic and a "door to nowhere." To honor this history, the renovation included refurbishing the pew for first floor seating and installing an art exhibit in the old doorway.

"We are excited to start the learning cycle anew with the students who just arrived on campus," says Hicks. "The new Humanities Hall now captures the essence of Oxford — students and faculty coming together to learn and teach with respect for the past and an eye toward the future."

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