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New Lebegern Learning Commons Create Space for Active, Engaged Learning
08.18.14 |

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The more than 1,600 Lebanon Valley College students arriving on campus later this week have cause for celebration due to the just completed $2.5 million renovation of Mund College Center’s lower level. The new Lebegern Learning Commons will provide a communal space for active, engaged learning for all LVC students.

“Everything about the Lebegern Learning Commons is committed to enriching the student learning experience inside and outside the classroom,” said Steven P. O’Day, special assistant to the president for innovative programs. “The Lebegern Learning Commons and the resources housed within are remarkable and will deepen student learning across campus.”

The new facility is equipped with the latest in technology and will serve as a gathering place for all students to learn, study, and collaborate. It houses the Center for Writing and Tutoring Resources, Center for Disability Resources, and Centers for Global Education and Career Development. The project also includes a new Commuter Center, multiple technology hubs, and an updated Multipurpose Room/Underground. New spaces were also created for use by Wig and Buckle Theater Company, the digital communications and music recording technology programs, and other campus groups.

“The Lebegern Learning Commons is a place for our students to be inspired into creative action,” said Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, LVC president. “We are intentionally bringing together myriad high-impact resources to excite our students about their future and to encourage them to seize the opportunity to study abroad, apply for a competitive internship, or otherwise expand their horizons. This space harnesses the power of the custom education available to Lebanon Valley College students. It reinforces our goal of promoting student success in everything we do.”

“The Centers for Career Development and Global Education already collaborate on programming and resources, but we anticipate the new facility will enable us to work more purposefully and productively together,” said Sharon Givler, director of career development. “New technology and private space for employers to conduct on-campus interviews within the suite are two of several visible upgrades that demonstrate the College’s commitment to the unique and complementary role that Career Development plays in the overall educational experience of students. Such commitment helps us to raise the bar with programs, resources, and services that will assist students in acquiring knowledge and skills to effectively perform in the world of work.”

Jill Russell, director of Global Education, echoes Givler’s sentiments, saying “The new learning commons will provide our students with the opportunity to discover global opportunities and perspectives in an open and supportive environment. Students have access to many valuable resources in the learning commons that will help them succeed both inside and outside the classroom, and ultimately provide them with the tools necessary to grow into empowered global citizens.”

Elizabeth Julian is director of the College’s Writing and Peer Tutoring Center, which provides students with the tools, techniques, and confidence necessary to become successful communicators and writers. “This new facility, especially with all the new technology, will help our tutors reach different types of learners,” Julian said. “The space is welcoming and accessible, which helps draw students who perhaps were too shy or uncomfortable to ask for help when struggling academically.”

As director of disability resources, Dr. Dawn Showers creates an environment that supports the understanding and acceptance of persons with disabilities, and the provision of reasonable and appropriate accommodations. The Center for Disability Resources affirms the right of persons with disabilities to obtain access in a manner promoting dignity and independence. “After a career in public education where resources are devoted to inclusivity because they ‘have to,’ I am energized by Lebanon Valley’s commitment to investing in inclusive excellence because it’s the right thing to do, the best thing to do, and doing it to support all our students – regardless of their abilities. All students need support at some point in their college career, and it’s exciting to work in an office that will encourage students to ask for that support.”

Effective learning commons on campuses come alive through student, faculty, and staff voices collaboration to promote vibrant and dynamic learning.

“Lebanon Valley’s new Lebegern Learning Commons is distinctive, sending a signal that this College is committed to constantly advancing the mission of our institution and devoting resources that ensure student success,” O’Day said.

Lebegern Learning Commons is named for Howard F. Lebegern ’49 and his wife of 59 years, Margaret Neal Lebegern. The Lebegern’s estate gift in excess of $1 million was made after a lifetime of support of the mission and values of Lebanon Valley College. The Lebegerns were members of The Thomas Rhys Vickroy Society, the College's highest philanthropic society, and provided financial support to LVC students and faculty throughout their lives.

Howard Lebegern died in 2009 in Cape Coral, Fla. After graduating from J.P. McCaskey High School, Howard enrolled at Lebanon Valley College and was a member of the tennis and track teams. He served in the U.S. Navy in 1945–1946, later earning his B.S. in business administration as a member of the Class of 1949. Beginning his professional career as an accountant with RCA (later GE) in 1949, Howard enjoyed a 37-year career with the company. He worked as an administrator and manager in financial controls, general accounting, and electronics manufacturing before retiring in 1986.

Lebegern Learning Commons will be formally dedicated on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 10 a.m. by President Thayne and Wesley Dellinger ’75, P’05, chair of the Board of Trustees, as part of the College’s Homecoming 2014 celebration.

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