Get a peek at CSU’s long-awaited Alumni Center on Friday

Kristi Bohlender can’t wait to show CSU’s alumni their new campus home.

The much-anticipated Iris & Michael Smith Alumni Center is hosting an open house Friday at 4 p.m. to show off the spectacular new space on the northeast corner of the new stadium. Graduates, the campus community, students – pretty much everyone – is invited to the event, which will unveil the long-awaited permanent home for CSU’s more than 205,000 living alumni.

Kristi Bohlender
Kristi Bohlender, executive director of the CSU Alumni Association.

“The Alumni Center has had three different homes over the past 30 or 40 years, and the previous places really weren’t very welcoming,” said Bohlender, the executive director of the Alumni Association. “This will be a welcoming space – a place for all alumni when they visit campus. We’re very pleased with how everything came together.”

State-of-the-art home for alumni

The Alumni Center has been in the planning phase for years, with Bohlender and her team visiting other collegiate alumni centers at Texas A&M, Texas, Kansas, Kansas State, Oregon, Oregon State, Wyoming and Colorado to see what works best. The result is a state-of-the-art space that includes interactive kiosks, alumni displays, meeting rooms and even spaces for students to study. There’s even a CSU-themed Ford Model T that belongs to the Alumni Association.

“We really wanted to tell the story of CSU through the eyes and accomplishments of our alumni,” said Bohlender, who earned BS and MBA degrees from CSU.

One of the coolest features is the Ann Gill Storytelling Booth, where alumni can video their CSU story. The unique feature is named for Gill, the longtime dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Food, music and fun at open house

Outside activities at the open house include face painting and lawn games, and a chance to hang out with CAM the Ram. Food and treats from trucks and Artisan Pops will be available for purchase.

Inside the center, game day food (hot dogs, pretzels, nachos) will be available for purchase, and fans can enjoy tunes from Last Call Romance (4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and Gasoline Lollipops (5:15 p.m. to 6 p.m.). There will be a welcome ceremony at 6 p.m., and at 7 p.m. attendees will be asked to participate in a ceremony dedicating the flag pole on the stadium’s north side.

Bohlender stressed that work is still being completed at the Alumni Center, so some of the displays are incomplete. The Center should be finished when it is dedicated during Homecoming week, when Iris and Michael Smith are in attendance.