Kalmanovitz Hall Dedication Marks New Era

Kalmanovitz at night Four years after the redesign of Kalmanovitz Hall began, University of San Francisco President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. welcomed visitors and thanked supporters at a Sept. 23 dedication ceremony for the university’s newest building.

Benefactors and administrators cut the ribbon to the renovated building, launching the university’s new home for humanities and social sciences on the next leg of its journey. Kalmanovitz Hall opened for classes at the beginning of the fall semester, Aug. 28.

“Today, we celebrate a wonderful educational facility whose deep roots in the university’s past will allow it to reach unprecedented heights in the future,” Fr. Privett said.

Named for the Paul and Lydia Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation—a Bay Area philanthropic trust that donated one-third of the estimated $30 million cost for the renovation—the building features 11 classrooms, 185 faculty and staff offices, 17 laboratories for language, writing, media, and psychology, and 10 conference rooms.

At more than 100,000 square feet, Kalmanovitz’s renovation goes beyond merely meeting current earthquake safety standards. The new design more fully exploits the building’s space, improves energy efficiency, and brings “smart” technology into classrooms—including video capabilities and wireless computer access, according to Mike London, assistant vice president of facilities management.

Other highlights include a rooftop sculpture garden and a main entrance set off by a soaring multi-story glass atrium connecting the old Kalmanovitz annex to Cowell Hall. The main entrance features a terraced courtyard, seating, and landscaping.

Known simply as the Liberal Arts Building when it was built in 1927, the facility was the first educational structure on USF’s present-day campus. Its name was changed to Campion Hall in 1959.

“It’s fitting that we should have a new beginning for the (College of Arts and Sciences) launched here, where the modern USF all began 80 years ago,” said Jennifer Turpin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “For the first time since 1927, Kalmanovitz Hall brings together the faculty and students in the humanities and social sciences, initiating a great dynamic moment in the intellectual life of the university.”

In bringing Kalmanovitz into the twenty-first century, a number of the building’s historical elements came along for the ride. The building’s façade, set off with a new coat of paint, has maintained its overall appearance, including the “Scientia and Philosphia” inscription on the north wall. And new, energy efficient windows were designed to replicate the building’s original paned glass.

A Romanesque (1075 A.D.) portal, from northern Italy, depicting Adam and Eve speaking to the snake near the Tree of Knowledge, greets visitors entering the foyer.

A Renaissance (1575 A.D.) portal will be installed in the terraced courtyard. Once part of the monastery of Santa Maria de Ovila in central Spain, the Renaissance Ovila portal, along with the rest of the monastery, was part of media mogul William Randolph Hearst’s collection. The monastery was never rebuilt, but the portal was reassembled in the old de Young Museum, which donated both portals to USF.

Click to see a photo gallery of the Kalmanovitz Hall Dedication Celebration and other photos of the new building

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