CU Academic Commons dedicated
BY TYRELL ALBIN STAFF WRITER TALBIN@LAWTON-CONSTITUTION.COM
What some students dubbed “the ugliest building in the world” is no longer a part of Cameron University — instead, the old student union has been transformed and revitalized as the new state-of-the-art Academic Commons. Cameron President Cindy Ross and the University of Oklahoma, Cameron University and Rogers State University Board of Regents officially dedicated the new building Wednesday evening.
The Academic Commons, which is just south of the Cameron Library, has been completely renovated and is now the home of the Communication Department’s Convergence Journalism program. It houses state-of-theart newsrooms for the Cameron Collegian newspaper and CUTV broadcast studios. The building also houses the Sarkeys Foundation Student Computer Laboratory, the student tutoring center, a campus-wide information technology help desk, classrooms and a lounge for Greek organizations. Ross introduced an “Extreme Makeover-Cameron Edition” video from the beginning of the renovation project about a year ago, featuring CU student Mark Deyesso. “This building will literally touch every student at Cameron University,” Ross told the audience gathered outside of the Academic Commons. She thanked all of the donors that contributed the approximately $4 million for the project, with special thanks to the major donors: the McMahon, Walton Family, Helen Holliday, Cameron University, Sarkeys, E.L. and Thelma Gaylord foundations; and Molly Burton. Cameron senior communication major Tiffany Martinez — who is an editor for both the Cameron Collegian and CUTV — briefly gave a student perspective on the new facility. Martinez said she has fallen in love with the concept of convergence journalism, where print and broadcast media merge, thanks to her education and experiences at Cameron. She said the Academic Commons is more than just a building for communication students — it’s a long-awaited home. Dr. Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes, chair of the Regents, thanked everyone for supporting the project. She said the new building is emblematic of the positive transformation of Cameron University under Ross’ leadership. Another short video featuring Deyesso was shown, then CU cheerleaders led the crowd in chants of “Move That Bus” and a Cameron bus that had been covering up the front of the building was driven away to reveal the redesigned entryway. The audience enjoyed a tour and refreshments inside the Academic Commons after the ceremony.