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Blast from Northeastern’s past

The Northeastern community commemorated the Curry Student Center’s 50th anniversary on Tuesday night by opening time capsules from 1964 and 1994, unveiling a new gallery exhibit highlighting five decades of historical milestones, and celebrating the building’s rich history.

The captivated crowd of university leaders, students, faculty, staff, and alumni waited patiently in the indoor quad for the contents of the time capsules to be revealed, which happened shortly after 7 p.m. Here are some of the highlights from the time capsules and the rest of the evening:

1994 time capsule:
A map of the campus tunnel system; an admissions brochure; student organization T-shirts; a Homecoming megaphone; a course catalog; the commencement program from the springtime celebration in which former U.S. President Bill Clinton served as the keynote speaker; a Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority stuffed moose; newspapers; and a piece of railing from the newly renovated student center.

1964 time capsule:
A U.S. proof coin set from 1964; a laminated 1963 dollar bill and 1898 silver coin, marking the year Northeastern was founded; a brochure on Northeastern’s co-op program; the President’s Annual Report; an aerial photo of campus; blueprints for the new student center; a Boston Globe newspaper with the headline “Dr. King Will Lead Protest March on Boston;” pictures of the student center’s cornerstone being cemented; and a Boston cultural events guide.

Hoda Abou-Jamra, PAH'97, left, and former SGA president Ryan Fox, E'11, open the 1994 time capsule. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

Hoda Abou-Jamra, PAH’97, left, and former SGA president Ryan Fox, E’11, open the 1994 time capsule. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

Speakers reflect on the Curry Student Center’s legacy:
Laura Wankel, Northeastern’s vice president for student affairs, noted that the student center is the college campus’ “unifying force,” a gathering place whose environment promotes student success.

“Through its commitment to social, cultural, and recreational programming, its many offerings create the mosaic that enriches and empowers student life—the place where student growth, exploration, leadership, and reflection are nourished. At Northeastern, we embrace the notion of learning happening through experience. The work of the Curry Student Center is focused on providing the environment within which students have a wonderful laboratory to learn things about themselves and others.”

Noah Carville, SSH’15, president of Northeastern’s Student Government Association, echoed Wankel in reflecting on how the Curry Student Center fosters a strong sense of community on campus, one that is constantly being shaped by students’ needs. “It has empowered us to pursue our passions professionally, personally, and academically,” said Carville, adding that since its inception students have played instrumental roles in shaping the center.

Hoda Abou-Jamra, PAH’97, recalled attending the celebratory event in 1996 in which Northeastern renamed the building in honor of former President John A. Curry: “Now in 2014, I’m back on this stage. I feel like I’m back home.”

Abou-Jamra said her time in the Curry Student Center “really shaped my life, helped me develop skills, and contributed to my success.” While at Northeastern, she also played an integral role in creating the International Student Center. The center, which was then located on the 4th floor of Ell Hall, worked hand-in-hand with the International Student and Scholar Institute although they were separate entities until merging a few years ago.

Rini Ghosh, PhD’16, president of the Graduate Student Government and a doctoral candidate in the law and public policy program, reflected on how the GSG was formed two decades ago following a student referendum borne out of graduate students wanting more out of the Curry Student Center. It was originally named the Graduate Student Association.

“The Curry Student Center has a lot of meaning to graduate students, and that’s something we should celebrate,” she said, noting that the GSC received a new office in the student center last year.

New gallery exhibit explores Northeastern and U.S. history:
After the time capsules were opened, Northeastern unveiled a new gallery exhibit in the CSC indoor quad. There visitors can explore milestone moments in the university’s history and major U.S. and world events that coincided with those moments, beginning with the 1960s. SCOUT, the student-led design studio, created the exhibit, which will be on display until Homecoming in November.

A new gallery exhibit highlights Northeastern's history over the past 50 years. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

A new gallery exhibit highlights Northeastern’s history over the past 50 years. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

Curry Student Center’s history:
The building’s history dates back to the early 1960s, when Northeastern announced a program calling for the expansion of the student cafeteria, lounge, and bookstore located in Carl S. Ell Hall to create a student center. The project kicked into high gear when students chose to tax themselves to raise funds for a dedicated student center. This led to the building’s construction, completed in 1964 and from which campus life grew and student groups emerged. A year later, Northeastern dedicated the student center to President Carl S. Ell.

The student center was redesigned in 1994, renamed the Curry Student Center in 1996 in honor of President Curry, and underwent its most recent series of renovations in 2012.

What’s next?:
Tuesday night’s celebration served as the first of two major events commemorating the Curry Student Center’s 50th anniversary. The second is Saturday, Nov. 15 during Homecoming Weekend, when the 2014 Homecoming King, Queen, and Mayor of Huntington Avenue will be crowned and Northeastern’s 2014 time capsule will be created. It will be opened in 2064 for the Curry Student Center’s 100th anniversary.

For more information about the “golden anniversary” festivities, visit northeastern.edu/csi/cscturns50/.

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