Gateway to Chicago’s College has new home on Main QuadBy Josh Schonwald
If there is truth to the old saying, “First impressions are everything,” the University’s gateway to the College for thousands of students and parents will now be in fine shape. The Office of College Admissions has moved from its previous cramped space on the first floor of Harper Memorial Library to a spacious suite of offices on the first floor of Julius Rosenwald Hall.
Not only has the office acquired a desperately needed space upgrade—more than doubling its square footage—it also now has, for the first time in its history, a home on the Main Quadrangle. “I love the new space,” said Ted O’Neill, Dean of College Admissions. “We’re right here. People can look out the window and experience the campus. You really feel like a part of the University here.”
The chief reason for the move, which was made possible by the relocation of the Graduate School of Business to its new building on Woodlawn Avenue, was to relieve a crushing space problem. One of the most frequently visited spaces on campus, the Office of College Admissions welcomes thousands of visitors each year.
When the College hosted large tour groups of prospective students or college counselors, its limited lobby capacity in Harper 186 often caused overflow problems, forcing visitors to stand in the hallway. Moreover, the tight space often forced admissions staff members, who shared offices, to seek out empty classrooms to conduct interviews with prospective students.
As the Office of College Admissions prepares for April—one of its busiest months of the year with an expected 700 visitors—O’Neill said he is thrilled to be in the new space. The days of having visitors stand in the hallway are over. Not only does Rosenwald provide a larger waiting room than the space in Harper, O’Neill said, but it also offers an overflow waiting room.
Logistically, the office will be able to improve its operations. For example, the staff will be able to separate groups of high school seniors and juniors to address their specific and often different concerns and questions.
But perhaps the best part of the move, O’Neill said, is its location. For one, being on the Quad is the ideal place to begin a tour of the campus. “The Quad is right outside our front door,” O’Neill said, and students visiting can see campus life right through the window. “From my window, you can see people playing Frisbee or sitting near a tree reading,” he said
The newly furnished Office of College Admissions lobby has some impressive design details—high-vaulted ceilings, fresco-textured wall and wood-paneled doors with gothic carvings. And such an impressive gothic office, O’Neill said, is perfectly reflective of Chicago. “I think this speaks of the great and serious University.”