Jul 28, 2014
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RMU Opens New Wheatley Center, Wraps Up $40 Million Campaign

Robert Morris University opens its new Wheatley Center for communications-oriented programs.

Think of it as the creative side of Robert Morris University’s decidedly business-oriented offerings, said RMU spokesman Jonathan Potts.

The Moon-based university, known for its business program, on Thursday night unveiled a sleek, new 50,000 square-foot facility that will house its growing School of Communications and Information Systems.

The building, named the Wheatley Center after American Revolution-era poet Phillis Wheatley, includes a 3-D design room, gallery and state-of-the-art computer labs.

The facility opened to students and faculty with the fall semester, but was introduced to the public during an evening open house.

“It has kind of a futuristic feel,” said Alexandra Salerno, a senior communications major on hand of the event.

The center consolidates media arts, communications and computer informaton system programs under one roof. 

“It’s awesome—we have the (Massey) theater nearby and it kind of pulls everything together,” said Nina Danchenko, a sophomore communications major.

Faculty members selected the building’s name in honor of Wheatley. Born in 1753, the former slave was the first female African American published author.

Prior to its renovation, the building served as the Wayne Center, a one-story, horse-shoe shaped facility that housed the university’s facilities services offices.

Those offices have been moved off campus, into the former Verizon building off University Boulevard.

“It’s about freeing up classroom space on campus,” Potts said.

The university raised $40 million to complete the building’s extensive renovation. The campaign marked the largest fundraising effort in RMU’s 91-year history. More than 8,000 donors contributed, according to a university statement. 

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