On a warm October morning last fall, North Highland Avenue was bustling, but not with the usual bicycle and foot traffic. Instead, the street housed large, white tents with tastefully appointed tables, a brunch buffet, and a jazz trio. The tents faced the paved patio and glass entryway of the newly renovated Patricia A. Bartlett Building. The stage was set for the long-awaited SALT Center Ribbon-Cutting and Grand Re-Opening Ceremony.
Roughly 250 students, family members, campus colleagues, and special guests filled the tents and tables as the program commenced. Former Director Dr. Rudy M. Molina, Jr. started the festivities by showing a tribute video created by alumnus Todd Hartley, who had this reflection to share:
“The part I cherished the most about the SALT Center Ribbon-Cutting was knowing that students have a real, legitimate home on campus. When I was attending the UA, the SALT Center was in the basement of Old Main. We had space, but it never really felt like it belonged to us ... the new space is absolutely stunning!”
The excitement that Todd expressed in his video reflected the gratitude felt by the audience that morning, and set the perfect tone for the rest of the event.
After some beautiful remarks from campus leaders, philanthropist and SALT Center champion Patricia Bartlett took the podium. She received an emotional standing ovation to honor her immeasurable contribution to this program. With her husband, Bruce, and their son, Ben, in attendance, Pat articulated her passion for the SALT Center’s support of college students who learn differently, and her hope that the new space will enhance those efforts:
“We are all so fortunate that the SALT Center has a permanent home at the University of Arizona, where lives are changed every day.”
Two student speakers, Madison Michaeloff and Grant Bevel, also shared their personal experiences, including their successes, challenges, and gratitude for being back home in the Patricia A. Bartlett Building. Madison said that she was honored to tell her story and thank Pat in person: “Even though I was really nervous, I loved seeing the crowd’s reactions and how they were able to relate to my experience here at the University and the SALT Center.”
Once all of the speeches were complete, Pat, Rudy, and former UA president Dr. Ann Weaver Hart each took a pair of ceremonial shears and prepared to cut the big red ribbon donning the doorway of the renovated building. With a countdown from the audience, led by Bruce and Ben, the ribbon was cut and the doors were opened so that everyone could venture inside and enjoy the new space. Student Ambassadors were stationed around the first and second floors to answer questions and explain how each new area was used on a daily basis. Madison captured the sentiment of many guests as the day drew to a close:
“The event was amazing, everything was set up beautifully, and everyone loved the new building!”
To see more pictures of our renovated space, visit our Photo Tour page at salt.arizona.edu/phototour