While the Fall 2022 semester opened the door to a new academic year, the ribbon cutting of Dicke Hall will mark the opening of a new front door for Trinity University. On Friday, Sept. 23, at 1:30 p.m., Trinity will commemorate the grand opening of Dicke Hall with a dedication and self-guided tours.
The festivities will include the debut of an occasion poem by Trinity English professor and city and state poet laureate Jenny Browne, MFA. Then, the Trinity choir led by music professor Gary Seighman, D.M.A., and the Trinity orchestra led by music professor Joseph Kneer, D.M.A., will play music pieces, both commissioned by music professor Brian Bondari, D.M.A., for the celebration. After the ribbon cutting, the event will conclude with self-guided tours of the new building, during which guests may attend presentations of their choice by Humanities faculty and students. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be live-streamed on Tiger Network.
Construction for Dicke Hall broke ground in Spring 2021, and, for just over a year, students, faculty, and staff have tracked its building progress on their daily walks between the Chapman-Halsell-Dicke Complex or through the live time-lapse. At the grand opening, those attending the tours either in-person or digitally will view the completed building’s historic exterior and modern interior.
“The building’s architecture mirrors and sets the tone for how we approach humanistic work,” says Megan Mustain, Ph.D., provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “Both the building itself and the Humanities are cutting-edge, rooted in what we know and value. Both are open, light-filled, and intentionally connected and responsive to the human and natural world outside. Both are laboratories for creation, recreation, and fearlessly transparent inquiry.”
Dicke Hall’s innovative mass-timber construction and design celebrate O’Neil Ford’s architectural legacy, supporting Trinity’s designation as a National Historic District. The building’s mass-timber construction and its solar panel roof make it environmentally friendly, with a lighter carbon footprint, fire and life safety, and biophilic aspects that have been linked to improved health and well-being.
The floor-to-ceiling windows open interior classrooms to the outdoors, revealing a campus connected by the unique ability of the human spirit to express itself. Inside, Dicke Hall offers a lecture hall, screening room, collaborative commons space, and six ultramodern classrooms with ample writing surfaces, moveable furniture, projection screens, and advanced state-of-the-art acoustics, in addition to offices, shared spaces, and conference rooms.
Prior to Dicke Hall, the English and religion departments have been at the far ends of campus from each other, in Northrup Hall and the Chapman Center, respectively. Being housed together in Dicke Hall encourages collaboration between these departments, providing them the space for community gathering inside and outside of the classroom. Similarly, the Humanities Collective and the Mellon Initiative now have a permanent home, a center for hosting events and sponsoring programs for Humanities students, faculty, and staff.
Dicke Hall stands not only as a center for the Humanities on campus but also as a physical manifestation of Trinity’s commitment to and belief in the power of the Humanities as part of a liberal arts education. Moreover, Dicke Hall’s location near Hildebrand Avenue demonstrates the opening of the campus and this Humanities center to the greater San Antonio community.
Dicke Hall and all that it stands for would not be possible without the generous support from Janet Dicke '68 (Board Trustee) and Jim Dicke '68 (Trustee Emeritus), for whom Dicke Hall is named, and for gifts from:
- Pat Semmes, Ph.D., and Thomas R. Semmes
- L. Herbert Stumberg Jr. '81 and Paula Stumberg
- The Sunderland Foundation: Charles Sunderland ’79 and Kent Sunderland ’81
- The J. E. and L. E. Mabee Foundation, Inc.
- Melody Boone Meyer '79 and Kim I Meyer
- The Joan and Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation
- Annell R. Bay '77 and Robert Suchecki
- Richard W. Calvert and Peggy Doane Calvert
- Betty Stieren Kelso Foundation
Additional, significant support was provided by members of the Board of Trustees, foundations, alumni, and the community.
“The opening of Dicke Hall is a milestone for Trinity, and for the study of the Humanities,” Mustain says.
Editor's Note: Photo credit for header photo: Robert Gomez.