When the Lawson-Fulton Student Center had its grand opening in January 2003, the HIU community could not imagine just how significant this new facilitywould become. Today the building is the hub of activity on campus, Hope’s epicenter, and serves to foster not only a deeper sense of community amongst students, staff, and faculty alike, but broadens opportunities for students as well.
“The student center is truly the heart of Hope,” said Kasey Philyaw (BA ’13), a scholar athlete who spent much of her time practicing and playing basketball in the Darling Pavilion. “It’s such a big part of the campus and community here,” Leslie Coffee (BA ’13), a yearbook editor for Student Publications and an intern for International Student Programs, said. “This place allows us to have community together.”
Staff and faculty also take advantage of what the building allows. Reid McCormick, Dean of Students, said, “Not only is it the center of campus, but it’s also the heart of the campus.” Roberto Sirvent (BA ’05), Associate Professor, appreciates the value it brings to his relationships with students. “I’ve always been fascinated by the conversations that take place inside the classroom, and I think it’s critical to continue those conversations outside of the classroom which is what this building allows.”
The construction of the Student Center was made possible by the generous donation of Mr. Stan Fulton. Fulton was first introduced to the university by LeRoy Lawson, one of HIU’s former presidents, and was moved by the vision and students of HIU. Stan Fulton made donations of over $6 million to the Share The Hope Campaign. His lifetime giving of nearly $6.5 million is the most made by any one individual or corporation to HIU.
“More than once I have walked around campus and thought, ‘How did we ever survive without this building?’” remarked President Derry. “That building has literally transformed the University.”
The Student Center is home to many vital aspects of campus life including the 2,500 seat Darling Pavilion, the Del and Ann Harris fitness center, the dining Commons, a café called The Hub, student mailboxes, a full-service mail center, the bookstore, and a recreational space housing comfortable study and relaxation areas. It also includes many staff departments including the Vice President for Student Affairs, Undergraduate Admissions, Student Housing, Campus Ministry, Student Activities, Student Publications, International Student Programs, Dongseo University offices, Career Services, and all Athletic offices. The Information Desk serves as the entry way for the building as well as the main university phone line.
The Student Center has made immeasurable changes to the way students function on and off campus. Student athletes have experienced one of the largest benefits. Prior to the Darling Pavilion, where our basketball and volleyball games are now hosted, teams travelled to schools or facilities throughout the city to practice, condition, and compete.
A vital aspect of campus life, meal plans, has also become a more palatable experience. Steve Richardson, Chair of the Biblical Studies Department, recalls the former cafeteria, “I remember some things like our old cafeteria that were so small that sometimes we didn’t have enough space for everybody to eat at the same time.” The Lambda Lounge has given way to the dining commons room, boasting tall floor-to-ceiling windows that let in plenty of beautiful California sunshine.
Venue options for on-campus events are more plentiful than ever. Many important events are held in the Student Center including Commencement, New Student Orientation, the Phone-a-thon, and many other student activities.
The building also affords the opportunity for hosting outside groups like Christ in Youth (CIY), local basketball and volleyball leagues, a variety of summer camps, and the Fullerton Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. Just this past February the facility hosted over 2,000 junior high students as part of CIY’s 2013 Presence Tour.
Perhaps most important of all, the Student Center facilitates a community atmosphere, a quality Hope is known for, and one of the most memorable aspects of a college student’s experience.For years, the Student Center was fondly referred to as the “New Student Center.” As we look back now, ten years later, we no longer call this beloved building ‘new,’ but we do ponder the continuously new things it brings to student’s lives – new conversations, new friendships, new opportunities, and a new home.