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A History of Ideas, Words and Meaning

March 20, 2013, 4:22 pm
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NNU broke ground March 8, 2013 for its new Leah Peterson Learning Commons. It was a significant ceremony attended by trustees, University faculty and staff and civic leaders.

It is not the first structure NNU has built to house its collection of ideas and words that capture ideas. This will be the fourth “library” in the school’s history.

First, NNC’s collection of books was housed on the bottom floor of the original Emerson Hall. That space was soon outgrown, and the R.T. Williams Library was constructed. However, it too was outgrown as the collection and the student body grew. Then in the early 60′s, the John E. Riley Library was constructed—a 20,400-square-foot space that served us well for nearly 50 years.

But NNC has become NNU, and ideas and words are now often held in the invisible realm of the Ethernet. Data is accessed via the World Wide Web and the very nature of how facts and information is created, collected and stored has changed. Thus, new times call for a new space.

NNU broke ground on its fourth learning center, the Leah Peterson Learning Commons. This new space will incorporate the 22,400-sq-ft existing John E. Riley Library for a comprehensive 56,635-sq-ft facility, wired and equipped to serve the institution for many years to come. The new Learning Commons is made possible by the generosity of Leah Peterson, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation and other charitable individuals and organizations.

Though the manner in which ideas and facts are stored has changed, one thing has not changed—NNU is committed to providing meaning amidst the explosion of information within the digital age. I can’t wait to cut the ribbon on the Leah Peterson Learning Commons when it opens in the fall of 2014.

–President David Alexander


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