Cal State San Bernardino celebrated the formal opening of its newest building, the Center for Global Innovation, during the official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 14.
Located across from the John M. Pfau Library and constructed at a cost of $55 million, the three-story, 71,000-square-foot building is the new home of the university’s College of Extended & Global Education.
CSUSB President Tomás Morales called the CGI “a magnificent structure that adds to the beauty of this campus,” in addressing the more than 150 people in attendance for the ceremony,
“This building’s location did not occur by accident. It is near the center of campus, close to both the library and the student union, placing the students it serves in the heart of day-to-day activity,” Morales said. “This center is now the hub for international education at CSUSB. It is a one-stop shop for international students and those seeking a global learning experience through our study abroad offerings.”
The center will play a vital role in the university’s international education programs, said Morales, who is a staunch advocate of study abroad programs.
“Studies have shown (study abroad programs) can be the single most powerful game-changer in a student’s academic career. Students who study abroad are significantly more likely to earn better grades and graduate from college,” Morales said. “We are dedicated to student success and providing an enhanced college experience through an active and dynamic learning atmosphere, which includes those students who come to us from other countries.”
Provost and Vice president of Academic Affairs Shari McMahan praised the center and its role in the university.
“I’m particularly excited about the impact the Center for Global Innovation has on our academic offerings and learning environment,” McMahan said. “The quality of our facilities has a really profound effect on our campus community – most notably, students and their performance. Research shows that campus facilities positively affect student health, behavior, engagement, learning and growth in achievement.”
Douglas Freer, the university’s vice president for Administration and Finance said the ribbon-cutting was the culmination of five years of planning and construction.
“It represents the culmination of hundreds of team meetings that start with goal setting, what we can afford to do, where we should be located and closes with the mind-numbing selection of hundreds of choices of furnishings, which trees to plant and what exact shade of blue tile is used on the blue staircase,” Freer said.
The project has also helped establish a true pedestrian square or center for the CSUSB campus, Freer said.
The center’s plaza “has already been packed with students every day, along with the redeveloped Coyote Walk, which has intentionally created a vibrant hub of campus life for us here at CSUSB,” Freer said. “It has also been exciting to see so many departments and student clubs setting up their tables along the walkway to pass out information or to just hang out.”
Adonis Galarza-Toledo, president of the CSUSB Associated Students, Inc. said the center has created a new special place on campus that has added value to the campus community.
“By taking on such a project, we have told our international communities that everybody matters on this campus. We finally have a space that connects our cultures and backgrounds,” Galarza-Toledo said. “This building will be the onus of new ideas, new friendships and the success of our students.”
Tatiana Karmanova, dean of the College of Extended & Global Education, has been involved in the project from the very beginning.
“This has been long, long in the planning. This project is very dear to my heart. We started back in 2012, starting with a small addition to our Yasuda Center, growing and we needed more space,” Karmanova said. “This building brings the entire college and many of its offices together to one location. It helps us build our identity, our sense of unity and certainly provide better services to our students, and not just international students, to all of our students.”
Karmanova said one of the key elements of the planning process was to involve students.
“It started by listening to our students. We held focus groups and we asked them, ‘What do you want?’ ‘What do you need in the new building?’” she said. “And what they told us was, ‘We need a home away from home, a place to socialize and interact, a showcase of diversity, sustainability and global citizenship.’
“I want to stress that this was the labor of many, many, many people,” said Karmanova in thanking Lisa McBride of the CSUSB Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, who served as the project manager; the architectural firm LPA Inc., who has designed many projects on campus; the general contractor Sundt Construction; as well as the many on-campus departments and groups including her staff who worked on the project.
Following the event, the CGI’s 250-seat auditorium was the site of the university’s international symposium on global citizenship, focusing on how higher education is contributing to educating global citizens. The keynote speaker was Mathis Wackernagel, president of the Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability think tank.
Along with administrative offices, CGI has 24 classrooms designed to accommodate collaborative learning, reconfigurable multi-purpose rooms and casual study lounges and auditorium. It also has retail food services. With a large patio at the entrance, global gallery and a terrace on the third floor, CGI provides space for gathering and collaborative learning as well as opportunities for indoor and outdoor hosting of special programs.
For more information on the College of Extended & Global Education and the Center for Global Innovation, visit its website.