The Cook Years: A Timeline of Accomplishments and Events

August 1996

Richard J. Cook becomes the 20th president of Allegheny College.

December 1996

The New Generations campaign ends with $60.5 million raised, three times as much as the previous record for an Allegheny fund drive.

January 1997

Meadville Community Energy Project founded to promote sustainable energy in the service of community economic revitalization. In 2005 the MCEP changes its name to the Commonwealth Community Energy Project to reflect its increasing activities in northwest Pennsylvania.

May 1997

The Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED) begins operation.

August 1997

The three-building College Court residence hall opens.

October 1997

The David V. Wise Sport & Fitness Center opens.

November 1997

The College’s first “smart classroom,” featuring the latest in educational technology, is dedicated.

Grounds for Change coffeehouse, founded and operated by students, has its grand opening.

February 1998

New Century Connections, the first of two strategic plans developed under Dr. Cook’s leadership, is adopted by the Board of Trustees.

April 1998

A new electronic digital organ is dedicated in Ford Chapel, marking the return, says historian Jonathan Helmreich, “of an instrument central to the College’s musical history and traditions.”

August 1998

David Mead Field House is demolished and replaced with the Senior Circle.

Montgomery Performance Space renovations include a sprung stage and new seating. An additional dance studio is created in the former weight room.

September 1998

The Allegheny College Center for Experiential Learning (ACCEL)—an innovative program that offers educational activities and services in career development, community service, international programs, and leadership development—opens its doors in a renovated Reis Hall.

Allegheny is invited to create the first Bonner Leader Program, which pairs students with local nonprofits in order to meet needs in the community.

January 1999

President Cook joins the board of the Council of Independent Colleges.

April 1999

The College’s French Creek Project is one of 24 initiatives from throughout the United States to be selected for a National Award for Sustainability by Renew America.

May 1999

Students pack their bags for the College’s first Experiential Learning study tours.

The Blair Hanson Language Learning Center is dedicated in Ruter Hall.

August 1999

The new freshman/sophomore curriculum emphasizes an integrated approach to analysis, writing, and speaking.

Minors in Dance Studies and Values, Ethics and Social Action (VESA) debut.

October 1999

Allegheny is recognized in The Templeton Guide: Colleges That Encourage Character Development.

December 1999

The College’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED) receives a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

April 2000

Allegheny College and the Meadville Medical Center enter into a joint venture to negotiate a contract with an energy service company to evaluate energy use and install environmentally responsible equipment.

May 2000

A new electronic carillon in Bentley Hall peals in celebration for commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2000. Bentley Hall tower is illuminated for the first time.

August 2000

The minor in Asian Studies debuts.

October 2000

Quade Walk, which extends Brooks Walkway from North Main Street to Highland Avenue, is dedicated.

January 2001

Allegheny becomes a founding member of the Lang Foundation’s Project Pericles, which facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship.

February 2001

Allegheny College receives the largest gift in its history, from Robert ’65 and Laura Vukovich. A portion of the gift is dedicated to the construction of the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts.

March 2001

Although it’s not unusual for Allegheny faculty to receive Fulbright awards, four faculty members are awarded Fulbright Awards this year. (Only 800 Fulbrights are awarded per year, and faculty from 3,600 colleges and universities compete for them.)

May 2001

President Cook travels to Slovakia for a planning session with Artes Liberales, an organization developed to promote the understanding and practice of liberal arts education in emerging Central and Eastern European democracies.

June 2001

Work begins on Signs & Flowers, a sculpture garden of oversized flowers made from recycled road signs.

July 2001

The College takes ownership of the Odd Fellows building, which will become home to the English department.

October 2001

Allegheny becomes the first college or university in Pennsylvania to install an advanced composting facility for food waste and other organic materials.

January 2002

The Biochemistry major debuts.

February 2002

Allegheny celebrates the centennial of its Eta chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

April 2002

Creek Connections holds its first annual Pittsburgh Area Student Research Symposium for middle- and high-school students.

The College announces that 7.5% of its electricity will come from wind power, a percentage higher than any other college or university in the eastern United States had invested thus far. That percentage eventually increases to 15.

October 2002

Homecoming features the College’s Celebration of the Liberal Arts, which sees the dedication of both the Merrick Historic Archival Center in Pelletier Library and a monumental glass sculpture, Presence of Seven in the Light of Movement, by Danny Lane.

The Center for Political Participation opens its doors and starts its work: creating new strategies and mechanisms for promoting political participation among all citizens, with a particular focus on young Americans.

November 2002

The Allegheny Board of Trustees adopts a set of environmental guiding principles.

March 2003

The Women’s Center, providing research on gender issues and women’s history, opens in Walker Hall Annex.

September 2003

Allegheny hosts the first local foods dinner on campus.

January 2004

Major renovations to the Campus Center include a transformed McKinley’s Food Court, post office, Merriman Bookstore, Grounds for Change coffeehouse, meeting spaces, and offices for student organizations.

Allegheny becomes the nation’s first college to enter into a pioneering teacher preparation partnership with Columbia University Teachers College.

April 2004

The CPP holds its first Model Campaign USA, designed to teach high school students about the art and ethics of political campaigns.

May 2004

Allegheny is one of only two colleges in 2004 to win a Council of Independent Colleges’ Heuer Award for Outstanding Achievement in Undergraduate Science Education.

August 2004

The Learning Commons opens its doors in Pelletier Library.

November 2004

Allegheny and Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management announce an accelerated master’s in management program to Allegheny College students.

March 2005

The executive-in-residence program is inaugurated, bringing executives to campus to guest lecture, interact with students in informal venues, and lead discussions with local business executives. Complementing the program is an annual business roundtable.

Diplomacy know-how and determination net Allegheny’s Model NATO team national first-place honors for the fourth year in a row.

Allegheny is selected for inclusion in the Princeton Review’s Colleges with a Conscience: 81 Great Schools with Outstanding Community Involvement.

July 2005

President Cook assumes the chairmanship of the board of directors of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania.

September 2005

The College publishes Jonathan Helmreich’s 532-page Through All the Years: A History of Allegheny College.

October 2005

The Patricia Bush Tippie Alumni Center at Cochran Hall is dedicated at Homecoming.

January 2006

President Cook creates the position of assistant to the president for institutional diversity to assist with diversity recruiting efforts, enhance student success, and establish and sustain strong relationships with alumni of color.

June 2006

Allegheny completes largest fund-raising campaign in its history, raising $115,245,902 in gifts and pledges. The campaign surpasses its goal by more than $10.2 million, not including $15 million in state and federal grants.

August 2006

Allegheny completes construction of the North Village residential complex, three apartment-style residence halls built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.

September 2006

Frank B. Fuhrer Field is dedicated. The new facilities include a new playing surface and track, scoreboard, stadium lighting, and wrought iron fencing. The College holds the first night football game and the first track & field invitational in its history.

October 2006

Ground is broken for the new Vukovich Center for Communication Arts.

New stained glass windows in the Chapel, re-creating the original side windows, are dedicated.

March 2007

Application numbers break records for the fourth straight year.

June 2007

President Cook is selected to join the steering committee of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

October 2007

The Maytum Learning Commons, in a renovated Pelletier Library, is dedicated.

President Cook is named chair of the Council of Independent Colleges–New York Times Partnership.

November 2007

Allegheny is named one of only 11 ACUPCC signatories that will launch pilot projects to further green their campuses.

Allegheny announces the Soapbox Alliance, a coalition of institutions that either have an open campaign-event policy or have pledged to work toward that goal.

January 2008

The international foreign language honor society Phi Sigma Iota, which was founded at Allegheny in 1922, returns its headquarters to campus.

February 2008

Allegheny College and the New York Times Knowledge Network host a special event to launch a two-year national project on nomination reform that explores past, present and future changes in the presidential nomination process.

April 2008

Allegheny College is issued the first and only invitation to join the prestigious Great Lakes College Association that the GLCA has issued since its founding in 1962. The GLCA is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful academic consortia.

This article was featured in the Winter/Spring 2008 issue of Allegheny Magazine.