From the President

From the President

At the dedication ceremony for the new Norman K. and Elsie Stossel Upchurch University Center in October, I welcomed the hundreds of students, alumni and great friends of the alma mater in attendance by calling the occasion one of the great moments in Longwood history, in line with our founding in 1839, the completion of the Rotunda in 1907 and the opening of Brock Commons in 2005.

Within just days of its doors opening, it became clear just how enormous an impact Upchurch will have on our identity and on the experiences of our students for generations to come.

That is partly a function of its size, elegance and architectural fit right in the center of campus, at the intersection of Wheeler Mall and Brock Commons. But even more important is what will happen inside—how the purpose and soul of this beautiful new structure reinforce so powerfully what is best and most distinctive about Longwood, most especially our deep culture of extracurricular activity and our sense of community.

Upchurch, like Longwood itself, will be a place where people gather face-to-face to build friendships and—through the work of organizations including The Rotunda and SGA, as well as just over meals in the food court—learn the habits of democracy: teamwork, conversation, debate and civil disagreement.

In that way, the building will serve not only to connect our current and future students with one another but also with those who have come before. That is why it was so wonderful to have so many students and alumni present together at the dedication. But best of all was the presence of Elsie Upchurch ’43, vibrant at age 97, whose generous $4 million gift catalyzed the endeavor. Her close friends at Longwood included my grandmother Marie Eason Reveley ’40. I noted that our current seniors will themselves be age 97 in the year 2094 or 2095, and I believe the Upchurch University Center will be a beacon then just as now.

Elsie has been the embodiment of a citizen leader during her long career in education and through her philanthropy, with her late husband, Norman. At the dedication, she was so immensely proud to see a building that embodies so much of what she and others love about Longwood come to life, knowing how meaningful it will be throughout generations to come. She, and all of you who support Longwood, make a profound difference in the life of the alma mater and have our deepest gratitude.

 Taylor Sig Transparent

W. Taylor Reveley IV