Aoun, Menino speak at ribbon-cutting for final West Village

By John Bruno

After a seven-year process, the last building of the West Village project was formally inducted onto campus and into the city last Thursday.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino attended the official opening ceremony for the newest residence hall on campus: West Village F.

The building holds suite-style dormitories for freshman honors students and contains some classrooms. It also houses the honors program and the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute (AAI).

Northeastern President Joseph Aoun spoke at the event. He recognized all who had contributed to the building of West Village.

President Aoun acknowledged the board of trustees and commended their support before introducing Mayor Menino, who praised the university’s recent progress.

“Northeastern really has accomplished a lot [in the last few years],” Menino said.

He acknowledged the brilliance of former President Richard Freeland’s career at Northeastern and said he looked forward to great things from President Aoun. President Freeland was in attendance at the ceremony, but did not address the crowd.

Menino said the newest building was more than a structure or residence hall.

“It’s a place where people will learn,” he said.

Menino also commended Northeastern’s efforts to increase the number of on-campus housing over the years. He said West Village F is a part of the entire Boston community because it will help in the effort to relieve the city’s housing problems by providing students with more opportunity to live on campus.

Ed Owens, a member of the Board of trustees and a Northeastern alumnus, spoke on his past experience at Northeastern.

“[In 1970,] none of us thought that one day we’d be standing on a campus as impressive as today,” Owens said.

He said the development of the school represents Northeastern’s commitment to its students.

“It shows the determination of the university to be a distinctive place,” Owens said. “[West Village F] is another step forward to build on the remarkable momentum of the last few years.”

When describing the Northeastern campus to his former colleagues in Los Angeles, Aoun said the best way to describe it was as a “singing campus.” He was impressed with the number of performance groups around campus. Two of these groups, the Unity Gospel Choir and an a capella group, the Nor’easters, performed at the ceremony.

Aoun said when he thinks of the amazing architectural buildings of the world, he thinks of cathedrals, because they are open to every member of the community and are places for safety, spirituality and knowledge. He said he would like to think that West Village is doing that for the community.

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