The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Admissions space looking brighter after Markle renovations

Photo by Trebor Maitin for The Lafayette
The new lobby of Markle Hall has been completed after over 18 months of construction.

Lafayette officially finished a renovation of the Hugel Welcome Center, located on Markle Hall’s first floor, this summer. As a result, the admissions office will have a brand new space to welcome prospective students and families to campus.

The updates to the building, which began in the spring of 2022, are some of the newest in a series of recent renovations at the college. The cost of construction was $4.6 million, including a $3 million donation from the Hugel family, according to Audra Kahr, vice president of finance and administration. 

This completion has generated excitement amongst the admissions staff. Over the past year, admissions occupied the Pfenning Alumni Center for all information sessions, interviews and admissions events. 

“All of us are excited with this outcome,” Forrest Stuart, vice president for enrollment management, said. “It is an impressive space for any visitor to walk through, and we are thankful to the Hugel family who greatly helped make this a reality.”

The Hugel Welcome Center was designed with a modern look. The entirety of the first floor’s back wall has been affixed with windows, complete with a new set of doors that provide easy accessibility to the Markle Parking Deck. The building’s front desk has also been modernized, and the lobby walls are now adorned with new television screens that constantly feature videos and photos of campus life. 

Stuart was especially happy about the impression the modern space will make on visitors.

“First impressions are extremely important, and the Hugel Family Welcome Center is a great first impression,” Stuart said. “This is a welcome center for the college as a whole, and not just admissions.”

In addition to a satisfied admissions staff, many students working in admissions have spoken positively about the renovations. Admissions student work is one of the most popular on-campus jobs at Lafayette, with over 100 students working as tour guides, office workers and senior interviewers. 

Michala Dennis ‘24, an office worker at Markle Hall, noted that families have appeared far more positive upon entering the new space.

“Every time I’m at the front desk, and people walk in … they just stand in awe for a moment,” Dennis said.

Juli Rufolo ‘25, also an office worker, similarly made positive comments.

“I do think that the space is very nicely renovated,” said Rufolo. “Families seem to like it. When you walk in, it’s a much more welcoming space.”

Imani Elson ‘25, director of office workers, mentioned that conditions have improved compared to working in Pfenning. 

“There’s definitely a lot more organization here than there was down in Pfenning,” Elson said. “We have working computers, which we did not have in Pfenning.”

While mostly positive about the renovations, Elson did note the small size of the building’s Leopard Den, which is the main workspace for the building’s office workers and tour guides.

“I will say that the space is a little small for tour guides,” Elson added.

The Hugel Welcome Center will be more of a hotspot on campus as fall open house events are scheduled soon for prospective students and their families.

“In the welcome sessions beforehand, there were just people talking,” Dennis said. “Now, you get a visualization of what a Lafayette student is: an athlete, a musician, a scholar.”

Correction 10/4/23: A previous version of this article misnamed Audra Kahr’s position at the college.

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About the Contributors
Trebor Maitin
Trebor Maitin, Managing Editor
Pennsylvania enthusiast.
Emma Sylvester
Emma Sylvester, Photo Editor

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