The University of La Verne celebrated the opening of the Ludwick Center for Spirituality, Cultural Understanding, and Community Engagement on Nov. 14. The day was met with celebratory activities, including a peace mediation, mariachi music, an island inspirations performance, and teach-ins by renowned leaders in the fields of diversity, inclusivity, and social justice.
“The University of La Verne is proud to welcome the Ludwick Center, where everyone is welcomed and everyone is supported,” University President Devorah Lieberman said.
The center serves as an interfaith gathering place for students, faculty, and the community to reflect, meditate, and engage in dialogue. It was designed to promote religious and cultural tolerance while bringing together many of the university’s essential services under one roof. This includes the offices of Civic and Community Engagement, International Services and Engagement, Center for Multicultural Services, and Religious and Spiritual Life.
Students, faculty, staff, and community members joined student-led tours through the sacred space, classrooms, group prayer and meditation room, yoga and quiet room, courtyard, and collaboration spaces.
At the heart of the opening ceremony were Art and Sarah Ludwick, whose support made the new center possible. Standing in front of a crowd of several hundred people, student speakers from each of the offices shared their heartfelt appreciation to the Ludwicks. Each stressed the importance of belonging and how this unique space will help bring the campus community together.
During the ceremony, Sherri Mylott, vice president of advancement, and student Maria Juncaj ’20 presented Art and Sarah Ludwick with a painting featuring the new center as a symbol of the university’s appreciation.
Throughout the week leading up to the grand opening ceremony, students, faculty, and the community heard from speakers, including Mexican Ambassador Marcela Celorio; Andrew Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission; and Gina Garcia, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education.
Prior to the opening, the Ludwick Center also celebrated a Tongva Dedication & Blessing in honor of the indigenous people of the region.
The Ludwick Center was designed by Steinberg Hart and built by Perera Construction.
Kim Patten, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, a partner at Steinberg Hart who led the design of the Ludwick Center, commented, “We were honored to work with the University of La Verne to design a building that reinforces the university’s mission, offering a safe, inspirational place that fosters understanding and a sense of belonging while allowing people of all faiths and cultures to connect and engage in thoughtful expression.”
To learn more about the Ludwick Center, visit laverne.edu/ludwick-center.