by Melissa Lombard H undreds gathered at the northwest edge of Mount Allison’s campus on Oct. 3 to celebrate a momentous day in the University’s history — the official opening of the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts (PCCA). The opening of the 50,000-square-foot building marked the first new academic building on campus for more than three decades — the last being the Crabtree building in 1979. “This is what a dream come true looks like,” says Gloria Jollymore, vice-president, university advancement. “We have been looking forward to this day for a very long time. The Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts represents Mount Allison’s commitment to arts education and the arts in general. It also reflects our deep commitment to provide our students with the best possible academic experience.” The Centre has been a long-time goal for the University, as facilities for both Fine Arts and Drama were spread across campus and, in many cases, were not adequate creative spaces. “We could see the immeasurable value in providing students and faculty a space for exploration, discovery, and learning,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Robert Campbell. Alumni and friends also supported the vision for the Centre — in a big way. When the project began, the University’s lofty goal was to raise $20 million. To date, $23.6 million has been raised in private donations and the building was built with no direct government funding or external debt. The Hon. Margaret McCain (’54) spoke at the opening on behalf of the benefactors. “It is our gift to students and faculty today and tomorrow and tomorrow,” she says. “ We want them to have the very best so they can become their very best.” The benefactors were also motivated to give to the Centre so generously to honour a great Allisonian, Purdy Crawford (’52), for whom the building is named. “Purdy loved learning,” says McCain. “He loved passing his knowledge and experience on to those around him. He would have loved seeing everyone thrive in this new space.” Sadly, Crawford passed away only weeks before the building was to open. The official opening brought together many of his family members — including his wife Bea, his six children and their partners, and 17 grandchildren — as well as many close friends, to celebrate the building, but also to honour a man who meant so much to them, to Mount Allison, and to Canadian business. The Hon. Margaret McCain (’54) addresses the crowd on behalf of benefactors of the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts. “We miss him greatly, but in having this Centre bear his name we formally recognize that Purdy’s contributions to Mount Allison — his wisdom, generosity, and insight — continue to impact this campus and the people who live, work, and learn here,” says McCain. / 13