“Topping Off” ceremony celebrates future of Learning Commons


Photo credit/ Katlynn Whitaker

Erin Yeager, Staff Writer

The final steel beam has been placed on the Learning Commons.

The Marywood community gathered to watch and celebrate the “Topping Off” Ceremony on Oct. 8.

At the Opening Liturgy, held at the beginning of the academic year, members of the community had the opportunity to sign the beam that would “top off” the new Learning Commons.

The Learning Commons will feature more open physical spaces and new technologies for student use. It will feature a new center for Communication Arts, an Entrepreneurial Launch Pad, and the Center for Transformational Teaching and Learning.

At the “Topping Off” Ceremony, Sr. Anne Munley, I.H.M., Ph.D, president of Marywood, spoke of the cultural importance of the beam placement, as well as the new Learning Commons itself.

“This ‘Topping Off Ceremony’ can be traced back to multiple cultural traditions,” said Sr. Anne. “Germans in the Black Forest seemed to have created this Christmas tree custom to celebrate the nativity of Jesus, so hardly any structure goes up in Germany without an evergreen to signify the birth of a new building.”

“For us at Marywood,” Sr. Anne continued, “it is also fitting that we capture our own deep and beautiful roots and tradition.”

“I think that the beam lifting really brought everyone at Marywood University together,” said freshman Tony Stryweski. “Marywood’s centennial is definitely something that should be celebrated, and I feel like the beam lifting was the perfect celebration of a great school that has been around for a long time.”

In an interview, Sr. Anne shared her thoughts on how the Learning Commons will affect Marywood University as a whole.

“Our students, our faculty, our entire Marywood community and a community far beyond Marywood, will be greatly enriched by all of the resources that this Learning Commons will provide,” Sr. Anne said. “It’s a keeper for the next 100 years.”