The University Center will be renamed the Sadler Center, in honor of the retiring Vice President of Student Affairs Sam Sadler ’64, M.Ed. ’71, Rector Michael Powell announced at commencement today.
“There are few buildings on this campus that are frequented more often by students or more recognizable than the University Center,” Powell said. “And there are few individuals who give as much to this College than Sam Sadler. Now, when students enter this building, they will forever be reminded of a man who devoted his life to his alma mater and to this student body. It is with great pleasure that we rename this facility the Sadler Center.”
Sadler said he felt “overwhelmed” and that the honor came as a total surprise.
“I still can’t get over it,” Sadler said in an interview. “Growing up as I did, the last thing on your mind is that the College would name a building after you. It was deeply special not only because a building was named, but because Michael Powell was a buddy from College.”
Sadler guided the planning and design of the University Center, which was dedicated in 1993, as Chair of the building committee.
Sadler recalled working with the building’s architect, one of the senior partners at Architect’s Collaborative, who asked to live in one of the lodges for a week while the building was in the planning stages so that he could learn about the landscape and local themes.
One particularly memorable event for Sadler occurred when an alumnus received a commission to sculpt a bronze statue of two bald Eagles and donated it to the new building. Sadler said they soon found that the floor would not be able to support the statue, so a new, thin marble base was designed.
The construction of the UC had also caused controversy, Sadler said, especially related to the nearby wildflower refuge that is on lower ground and could have suffered from drainage problems caused by the new building. He said they worked hard to resolve the issue.
Sadler said that the building was a success.
“It really has become the gathering spot for the campus,” Sadler said. “It has transformed the space that students have.”
Interim President W. Taylor Reveley III agreed.
“This building serves the College in so many important ways. It really is central to student life and campus events — much like our friend and colleague Sam Sadler,” he said. “Having Sam’s name forever linked to it will be a source of great pride for us all.”