ASC Trustees name campus building in honor of Dr. John E. McDaniel

(12-17-2010)

Emeritus Professor of History

The Board of Trustees for Adams State College today approved renaming the college's Education and Social Sciences Building as "John E. McDaniel Hall" to honor a man who has given his life to the college and its students. McDaniel taught in the building for 40 years and retired from teaching in spring of 2007, when he was named an emeritus professor of history.

"I'm not sure there's been a more deserved honor of anyone on our campus," said board chair Tim Walters. "Dr. McDaniel has given much more than dollars to ASC and our students."

Trustee Gigi Darricades added: "Ever since I've been associated with ASC, I've heard so much about John McDaniel, his support of students and his mentoring. Students say he's made such a difference in their lives."

Known for more than 43 years as the ES Building, the facility on the corner of First St. & Richardson Ave. is about to be extensively renovated to renew it as the principal site for Adams State's humanities and education classes. Half of the college's 2,500 on-campus students attend class there five days a week.

Architect's rendering of new southern exterior of John E. McDaniel Hall.

Architect's rendering of new southern exterior of John E. McDaniel Hall.

McDaniel recently pledged the second largest donation in the college's history to create the McDaniel Scholarship Trust. He committed the bulk of his estate to provide scholarships to help countless students for decades to come. He intends the trust to assist students with tuition, as well as book expenses and room and board.

"Student scholarships are even more important in this time of diminishing state support of higher education in Colorado, particularly for Adams State," McDaniel said. "It seems we have a unique role in serving not only southern Colorado, but also northern New Mexico and our region's Hispanic students."

Adams State College President David Svaldi said: "I have met only a few people in my higher education career who completely fulfilled the well-worn phrase, 'A gentleman and a scholar.' John is invariably polite, extremely well read both in his area and generally, and has had a major role in preparing some of ASC's most successful graduates. Dr. Gary Gallagher comes to mind. Doubtless thousands of other, less well known ASC graduates also went on to successful lives and careers after completing classes with John."

McDaniel's legacy of helping students

McDaniel's bequest was announced Nov. 4 at the conclusion of the Adams State College Foundation's annual Student and Donor Recognition Dinner, at which McDaniel was presented the college's highest honor, the Billy Adams Award. Adams State College Foundation President Duane Bussey said: "To have a scholar such as Dr. John McDaniel devote his entire academic career to Adams State College is certainly a valuable gift in itself. But now Dr. McDaniel has really outdone himself."

Adams State students are already benefitting from another scholarship program McDaniel created in partnership with the ASC Foundation, alumni, and faculty. Eleven years ago, McDaniel set out to create 30 individual scholarship funds. He donated $5,000 to each fund, which was then matched by the donor and the Adams State College Foundation. Today there are not 30, but 40 McDaniel Scholarship Funds, with total endowments in excess of $823,000 that fund half-tuition scholarships.

McDaniel joined the history faculty of Adams State College in 1967. He served as head of the Department of History, Government, Philosophy and Foreign Language from 1994-98. Beginning in 1993, he presided over commencement ceremonies as faculty marshal.

He received his bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in English from Texas Christian University, then studied French culture and civilization at the University of Strasbourg with a Fulbright Grant. McDaniel had begun doctoral work at Harvard, but postponed it to work on John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign; he then worked in the Kennedy administration. Following JFK's assassination, McDaniel made a change and finished his doctoral work at the University of Texas. He also served as an officer in the Air Force.

"After the Air Force, I decided I wanted to teach. The classroom was the most exciting place in higher education - not administration, not faculty committees - but one-on-one interaction with students," McDaniel explained. "Because of ASC's size and small classes, it was always possible to interact with students. I could hardly ask for a more satisfactory profession, a more enjoyable profession."

Student friendly building

ES Building occupants have been relocating to other areas of campus in preparation of the remodel, which will begin in early 2011. The building houses the departments of English, Theatre & Communications; History, Government, Foreign Languages & Philosophy; Psychology; Sociology; Teacher Education; Counselor Education; Title V; and the Academic Instructional Technology Center.

The building's first floor will feature computer labs and a wi-fi study area.

The building's first floor will feature computer labs and a wi-fi study area.

The $11.4 million project is funded through a student-approved capital construction fee. Alumni and community members also have the opportunity to support the project.

The entire building will be completely gutted and reconfigured. Natural light, new finishes, and indoor and outdoor study/gathering spaces will make the building more welcoming to students. An atrium with adjacent outdoor patio, study areas, and interior glass walls will open the center of the building south to north and suffuse it with light. An open staircase will connect a bright, welcoming second-floor study area with the third floor. The first floor will become a study hub, with a 24-hour computer lab and study alcoves with wi-fi access. A new 140-space parking lot will be developed just east of the building, at First & Richardson Ave.

An open staircase will link the 2nd floor lounge with the 3rd floor and admit natural light.

An open staircase will link the 2nd floor lounge with the 3rd floor and admit natural light.

Because Adams State's small student-teacher ratio has always been a key to student success, ES classrooms will be resized to foster this intimate environment, resulting in more total classrooms. The renovation will also improve the energy efficiency and accessibility of the ES building. The remodeling project will create an environment with flexibility to foster different teaching and learning environment approaches.

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By Julie Waechter