Sunday, August 06, 2017

University of Wisconsin-Madison (2017)


After visiting the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (previous blog entry, below), I took a two-hour bus ride south to the iconic University of Wisconsin-Madison, the flagship campus of the UW System, Shown above is one of the major campus landmarks, Bascom Hill. I photographed UW-Madison previously in 2004 and 2007, but those photo collections are much more limited than what I was able to take on my 2017 trip, both in terms of the number and quality of the pictures. I invite you to scroll down for my most vibrant shots yet of the UW-Madison campus and the town of Madison itself.

Among the buildings on either side of Bascom Hill is the UW Law School, which dates back to 1868. A 1996 renovation added the glassy exteriors, seen on the left-hand side of the following photo.


From high up on Bascom Hill, one gets an amazing view down State St., the main campus-area shopping and dining district, all the way to the State Capitol.


Next are a couple of shots of the State St. pedestrian mall (no cars), featuring Al Fresco dining on the sidewalks of many restaurants (interesting, Al Fresco has come to have a different meaning in Italy, the country from which the term originates).



Heading back toward the campus, we see the Wisconsin School of Business, also with an interesting design.


Of course, no visit to UW-Madison would be complete without a trip to the Wisconsin Memorial Union, a major renovation of which is largely complete.


Attractions inside the Union include Der Rathskeller, the history of which (and the translation of the German phrase at the entrance) are described here.


Another favorite of visitors to the Union is the Daily Scoop ice-cream stand, whose product comes from the Dairy Science program in Babcock Hall. If you haven't been to campus for a few years (as I hadn't), you'll find that the Daily Scoop has moved to a slightly different location on the first floor. Whereas it used to be near the entrance to the Union's east wing, it is now further back, closer to the lakefront terrace. The Scoop has a new offering, known as the "Freshman 15," consisting of 15 scoops of ice cream and assorted toppings, for you and your friends to have a light snack.


The highlight of the Memorial Union for many people, however, is the lakeside terrace in back (during warm weather, at least). Sitting in the traditional yellow, orange, and green chairs, one can watch the sailboats, enjoy food and drink, and listen to a live musical performance.




Another topic I wanted to broach is the type of housing that has been going up in downtown Madison between the university and capitol in recent years. The apartments and condos shown in the following photos are not from L.A., Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington, DC, or Miami Beach. They are from downtown Madison.


A fellow grad-student at Michigan in the 1980s suggested to me that, as college tuition continued to rise, students would become increasingly upscale and the surrounding environment would develop in ways designed to cater to this clientele. Talking to people in Madison, it also seems that booming economic development in fields such as healthcare and technology may be driving the demand for high-end housing. Perhaps political-lobbying jobs are doing so, as well.

Madison still does have "old-fashioned" off-campus housing, such as the following homes near the union and lake, which are either shared by groups of students or divided into apartments. The trend seems unmistakable, however.


One last feature I saw on my recent visit, which I don't recall seeing previously, were these free-standing pillars. Presumably, they are meant to serve as symbolic gates, welcoming people to the university. To me, they almost look like exclamation points, to punctuate one's visit.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Last week, I spoke at a sports analytics conference at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The town of Stevens Point (or simply "Point" as some locals call it) is part of the region served by Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA), along with other towns such as Wausau and Marshfield.


UWSP opened in 1894 and, according to my taxi driver, is probably best known academically for the study of natural resources. Here is the front of the College of Natural Resources, which along with the nearby buildings, features abundant trees and flowers.



This lovely picnic area...


...and some of the on-campus residence halls reinforce the "green" motif. Note also the solar panels for energy conservation, atop the building on the right.


Shown next is the Lee S. Dreyfus University Center (the student union). Dreyfus served stints both as Chancellor of UW-Stevens Point and as Governor of Wisconsin.


Coming soon to the roster of campus buildings is the new Chemistry-Biology building.


The last of the on-campus facilities I photographed is Berg Gym, home of women's basketball and other sports. UW-Stevens Point plays at the NCAA Division III level. The men's basketball program (which uses a different building) has a couple of claims to fame. One is coach Dick Bennett, who coached not only at Stevens Point, but also achieved great success at UW-Green Bay and UW-Madison. The other is Terry Porter, who played for the Pointers in the early 1980s and became one of the few college players below NCAA D-I to make the NBA. Porter also coached in the NBA and now coaches at Portland University.


Many universities are seeing a growth in the number of off-campus apartments for students, and Stevens Point appears to be no exception.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

College of Charleston



My wife recently was in Charleston, South Carolina, for a professional conference, and she took some photos of the College of Charleston. The "C of C," as it is sometimes known, is unique in a few ways. First is its location within the city. I'm not aware of too many campuses that are right in the downtown area, where hotels for convention-goers and tourists are within a block of a college. Also, the C of C was founded in 1770, making it "the 13th oldest institution of higher learning in the United States," according to the Wikipedia.

Next is a shot right outside the college bookstore, across the street from which is shown the Cato Center for the Arts.


It certainly rained hard during my wife's visit. Thanks for being such a trooper!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

University of Texas El Paso (UTEP)

Shown immediately below are three scenes from the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP): The Health Sciences and Nursing Building, a recent (2011) addition to the campus...


...the Undergraduate Learning Center...


...and a collection of buildings...


Photographed earlier this spring by my Texas Tech colleague Dana Weiser* , the UTEP campus is rich visually, with its vivid colors, mountain backdrop, and unique inspiration for its buildings. The latter, as Dana enthusiastically explained to me, is the influence of the small Asian nation of Bhutan on how the campus was originally built. According to the article, "Bhutan on the Border," from the UTEP website:

...the university’s architecture has been shaped by... Bhutan, the last of the three Forbidden Kingdoms hidden deep in the Himalayas, between the great Tibetan plateau and the plains of India.

UTEP was founded in 1914 as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy, and the inspiration for its architecture is credited to Kathleen Worrell, wife of the School's first dean, who was fascinated with an 88-page photo-essay on Bhutan that appeared in the April 1914 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Bhutan has also provided structures as gifts to UTEP. According to this 2014 article, a Buddhist Temple "... was given to UTEP by the people of Bhutan after it was built for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival that took place in Washington D.C. in 2008. It was later shipped to El Paso and kept in a warehouse until money was raised to place it on campus." Here is a photo Dana took of the Temple...


UTEP was also known previously as Texas Western and, under that name, made sports history in 1966, winning the NCAA basketball championship with an all-African-American starting lineup, beating the University of Kentucky, which did not have its first Black basketball player until 1971. How Texas Western coach Don Haskins built that team was the subject of the major motion picture Glory Road. In fact, the current basketball arena, built in 1977 and named after Haskins in 1998, sits on a street called Glory Road.

So let's look at a bunch more UTEP buildings, characterized for the most part by low-pitch gable roofs, sometimes stacked in multiple tiers. In addition, numerous bright-color brick mosaics are embedded into buildings, brightening the campus tremendously. The first example occurs below with the UTEP library, with such mosaics featured near the top of the tower portion.

The library, whose exterior is shown here sequentially to capture the long length of the building...


...has some of the biggest and smallest books in the world...


... as well as some very old ones, including this one, printed in 1495...


... and some very intricate artwork, including this cabinetry with the banner above it (captured in two images, to keep the photos a little larger and preserve detail)...


Public art appears outside the library, as well, as shown here in the form of the "Texas Wedge." This work consists of poles of aluminum, not wood, as it might appear to some.


Dana was also able to take some photos from the library roof (I don't know if she was singing "Up on the Roof" while doing so). If it seems that Dana has inside connections to the UTEP library, she does, as her sister is a librarian there!

Next is Old Main, the oldest building on campus, shown first from somewhat of a distance and then closer up...



Next is perhaps the tallest edifice on campus, the Education Building, with its central tower...


The Education Building looms large in the distance, including from the Psychology Building, shown next...


As implied by the dates listed above, UTEP celebrated its centennial in 2014. The following picture shows part of Centennial Plaza, which actually has two circular lawns.


This page on the university website displays design plans for refurbishing the campus in connection with the centennial; this plan presumably has been implemented, in part or in whole, in the three years since 2014.

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*When Dana agrees to photograph a campus, she'll really immerses herself in the task. See the extensive UC Berkeley photo essay she contributed last year.

Friday, June 09, 2017

New England Conservatory (Music)

My Texas Tech colleague Mike McCarty provided me with the following photo of the New England Conservatory, from a family college-exploration visit. This music education blog discusses the distinction between studying music in a conservatory vs. doing so at a liberal arts institution. Located near Symphony Hall in Boston, NEC offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in music (the bachelor's also including liberal arts coursework). NEC also offers joint degree programs with Tufts and Harvard.


The specific building shown in the photo is Jordan Hall, which according to the Wikipedia page on the NEC, is the conservatory's primary concert hall, hosting roughly 1,000 performances a year.

Friday, April 21, 2017

University of Maryland, College Park

Here's the third entry from John Jost's East Coast collection, this time from the University of Maryland's main campus in College Park (near Washington, DC). According to the Wikipedia, the Maryland campus features "red brick Georgian" architecture, which is elaborated here.

The first photo looks to be at ground level of McKeldin Mall (shown from a bird's eye view in this video).


Pictured next is the Frederick Douglass Statue, with the Biology-Psychology Building in the background.


Finally, we have the Microbiology Building.