Steve Castillo

Remarks by Burt and Deedee McMurtry at the McMurtry Building Goundbreaking Ceremony

Burt begins:

A groundbreaking sounds like a beginning, but this seems to be more like the middle. For years there has been talk of moving Art and Art History to a new building near Cantor. In fact that was one of the recommendations in an external review of the Cantor Center in 2002!

The real beginning of our current odyssey, though, was the decision by John Hennessy and John Etchemendy about a decade ago to launch an arts initiative. The Arts Initiative was officially launched in 2006 and Deedee and I were enthusiastic supporters.

We had no idea that we’d play a major role in funding the new building for Art and Art History, so let me tell you how that happened.

In about 2000 we had put some money in a pending fund and planned to commit more. We told John and the Office of Development that we wanted it to be used eventually for something big that was otherwise hard to fund. We didn’t need to hear about projects for which there were multiple potential donors, but we wanted to hear about something important but hard to fund. We might not do it, but we wanted to hear about it.

On a flight back from a Stanford event in DC in 2007, John surprised us by asking if we’d consider making the lead gift for the new building. It was important to him and it wasn’t clear how he could get it funded. Deedee and I thought about it for about five minutes and said “yes”.

An Executive Committee was set up in 2010 involving the School of Humanities and Sciences, the Department of Art and Art History, the Art Library and, of course, Land, Buildings and Real Estate. We have loved being closely involved in architect selection, programming and design.

You’ve heard from Nancy and Charles so you can imagine how much fun we are having working with them and their teams.

Charles Renfro from Diller Scofidio + Renfro in New York and Stan Boles from Boora in Portland have formed a terrific team. Although this is the first Stanford project for DS+R, Boora has a long history here beginning with its selection years ago as the planners for the proposed SEQ-2, the new and now almost completed science and engineering quad.

We’re very grateful to Bob Reidy and his team at Land, Buildings and Real Estate. We’re also grateful to the Land and Buildings Committee of the Board of Trustees for helping us through the design process.

Our expectations have been and remain very high, primarily because of the outstanding and committed faculty we have and those additional faculty who will be joining them. Their challenge and opportunity is to use the building as a tool for great achievement by them and by their students.

We’ve been working on completing the funding and have had a wonderful response. We’re within $7 million of our $50 million target, and we’re delighted that many of the donors are here today. I’m confident that we’ll achieve our goal.

Now let me turn the podium over to Deedee.

We never in our wildest dreams would’ve thought we would be able to do something like this – but here we are! The arts are very important to us and to concentrate them in one area on campus is an amazing feat.  I feel this beautiful building will be a draw for more and more students from all disciplines to visit it and experience the Cantor and the Anderson Collection. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have a part in this, and it has been so meaningful to us that so many here have joined us with their support. We hope that all of you will visit this very porous, welcoming building in the fall of 2015 and beyond.

If we and the Andersons get a result as successful as Bing Concert Hall has been, we will be extremely pleased.

There is lots of work still to do, but we are underway. We need creativity on a number of open issues, for example, connectivity between Cantor, Anderson and McMurtry. And, of course, there’s parking!

Let’s go to work!

Thank you!