New Panther Square to become “heartbeat” of campus



Brandon Wise and Paola Molini/ FIUSM Staff

Almost a year after the first swing of the hammer, the thudding smashes have finally stopped in the Wolfe Center.

The brand-new Wolfe University Center’s Panther Square renovations were on full display on March 31 during the ribbon cutting ceremony.  President Emeritus Gregory Wolfe was extremely happy to see the work completed.

“It’s wonderful to have something in my name to recognize the pleasure it was to serve this community and education in general,” Wolfe said.

The renovations, which started in May 2013, have made the building more modernized, with more carpeting and the removal of the red bricks, according to Scott Jones, director of the Wolfe Center.

When originally opened in 1980, the Wolfe University Center was an open-aired facility which later became enclosed. Those red bricks led to the name Red Square, which has now become Panther Square, according to Jones.

“A student center is the heartbeat of a campus,” Jones said. “What I hope we’ve created for a student experience is a lot more connection and networking opportunities, whether that be through formal programming or informal socializing through what we’ve created through a variety of lounges.”

The project was funded through BBC’s Student Government Council, which cost around $3 million, according to Jones.

He is also excited for the future and upcoming projects the university will undertake at BBC.

“I’ve only been at FIU for 11 months,” he said “Part of my attraction for coming was what was happening at BBC and the plans  with Wolfe University Center; but also a new residence hall and expansion of the academic programs, which for me only means more growth and more opportunity.”

President Mark B. Rosenberg honored President Emeritus Wolfe by discussing his vision for the University and how far it has come since its opening.

“Dr. Wolfe came here and he raised the question: Is it possible to build a major American public university in the tropics? And the answer sits plainly before you today that he led us to and you have all helped us build and that is FIU,” Rosenberg said. “We’ve built it. We’ve succeeded and we’ve done so as a result of the verve, the courage, and the vision that Greg Wolfe had.”

Wolfe, who is recovering from a broken hip, said that he was very proud of what has been happening on the founding grounds of the University and the outlook for the future.

“We’ve had a magnificent start, every program that we have applied for accreditation for has received it on application,” Wolfe said. “You really can’t beat that. I’ll challenge any educator in America to meet our standards.”

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