Northwestern College plans to hold the grand opening of its new Billy Graham Community Life Commons (Graham Commons) today-with a grandson of the famous evangelist on hand to participate in the honors.
The ceremony for the 70,000 square-foot building will be held at 4:45 p.m. in Maranatha Hall and the celebration is being integrated with Northwestern's homecoming activities, college officials said. The Rev. Billy Graham was Northwestern's second president, serving from 1948 to 1952.
The building’s estimated cost is $19.5 million—which will come from $23 million raised through the college’s Envision Excellence Campaign, according to Jamie Hanson, a Northwestern spokeswoman. In 2007, the school received a $750,000 grant from Troy, Michigan-based The Kresge Foundation for the project.
In a statement, Northwestern President Alan Cureton said, “More than six years ago when we began planning for the addition of the Graham Commons, our intention was to build a facility that would be transformational, and we did. The building’s design, coupled with the redesign of the campus green, captures the beauty of our location while providing space for physical, spiritual, and personal renewal.”
The two-story building includes the campus dining center, student lounges and study areas, office and meeting space for student organizations, campus store and prayer chapel.
Special guests at the building dedication include the Rev. William F. Graham IV (Will), grandson of Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Grover Sayre II, chairman of the Northwestern College Board of Trustees, Roseville Mayor Dan Roe and Arden Hills Mayor David Grant.
Following the program, there will be an official ribbon-cutting in the Graham Commons, building tours and samples in the new café and coffee shop.
Founded in 1902, Northwestern College is a private Christian liberal arts college that has more than 3,000 students enrolled from 31 states and 28 countries, according to college officials.