Flag raising ceremony celebrates Commons construction completion

Mohammed Truitt
Staff Writer

The University held a ceremony for the recently completed construction project near the Weinberg Memorial Library on Monday.

The project cost an estimated $1.597 Million, and took over five months to complete.

The construction does not have an official name, although it has been unofficially referred to as the Commons flag terrace.

“We don’t know if there’s going to be anybody that this will be dedicated to at this point,” James Devers, associate vice president for Facilities Operations said when asked about the official name of the project.

The national anthem was sang by senior biochemistry major Patrick May.

Six members of The University’s ROTC program were also participated in the event to raise the colors in front of a crowd of 50 people that included University staff, community members, students and police officers.

Following the raising of the colors, Devers and University President the Rev. Dr. Kevin Quinn, S.J., delivered speeches to those in attendance. The speeches encircled the significance of the ceremony.

Quinn led attendees in prayer and went on to bless the site.
Students like first-year J.R. Phillips hold strong convictions on the significance of the site.

“(It symbolizes) unity among a nation, and just national pride … You have the ROTC guys in their dress blues, you have community members, people of The University, police officers – everybody’s out here to witness this monumental dedication of this site … This is a way to unite people, this country is deeply divided. I believe in any way you can try to bring people together, I mean you have a wide diverse group standing around here right now …,” Phillips said.

“I think it has a lot of symbol,” Devers said “First and foremost would be that the American flag reminds us that we are Americans, of course the Commonwealth flag, because we’re in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and of course The University flag. So those three flags together symbolize that we are dedicated Americans, dedicated to the commonwealth, dedicated to The University.”

Students have already begun to use the Commons flag terrace as a rendezvous area, similar to the various statues around campus.

However, some students have dissenting opinions on the project. Among them, sixth-year physical therapy student Bill Connell.

“I think it looks really nice, but I think 1.6 million is kind of a lot to spend on a small area like this,” Connell said.
The project is part of the University’s efforts to slowly revitalize the commons. Additionally, the construction is the response to the University’s student government’s resolution to install flag poles on campus.

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