In November 2013, the Wu family of Hong Kong provided Acadia with a gift of $1.5 million to construct the Wu Welcome Centre at Alumni Hall. The gift was a tribute to Hong Kong businessman Dr. Jieh Yee Wu from his children, Acadia graduates Lily (1963), Doris (1964), and Timothy (1966). Lily’s husband, Dr. Andre Lau (1961), is also an Acadia alumnus. The Wu family’s connection to Acadia is well-established with the Wu Wing of the Vaughan Memorial Library also named for Dr. Wu.
Entry point to campus
The 3,600-square-foot addition to Alumni Hall will serve as an entry point to campus, meeting the needs of prospective students and families, visiting alumni, special guests and the Acadia campus community. The multi-purpose building will be a venue for events such as faculty meetings, alumni reunions, and campus presentations as well as housing a number of offices and workspaces for campus support staff. It is expected to be a hub of campus academic, social, and community-building activity.
The Wu Welcome Centre underwent a rigorous but positive development approval process with the Town of Wolfville to ensure that, when finished, the two-storey building will match and complement the appearance of historic Alumni Hall. New heating and ventilation systems, LED lighting throughout, and restoration of key interior finishes such as floors, trim and walls in adjoining Alumni Hall will ensure that the entire complex presents every visit or with a pleasant experience in a modern and energy efficient environment. Parking for up to 21 visitors, perimeter plantings, and a 4,000-square-foot exterior terrace for outdoor events will make the Wu Welcome Centre one of Wolfville’s most attractive outdoor and indoor spaces.
Preserving Acadia’s history
The original or front section of the building is Alumni Hall, built in 1852 by John Lothrop Brown. Brown was a prominent Wolfville businessman, farmer, merchant and political figure. He represented Kings County in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1859 to 1863. In 1892, the house was purchased by Dr. George DeWitt, Wolfville’s mayor and later its medical officer. It was sold to Acadia in 1920 and the first Acadia President to occupy it was Dr. George Cutten, who served as Acadia’s President between 1910 and 1922. Dr. J.R. C. Perkin, Acadia’s president between 1982 and 1993, was the last President to live in the house and in 1994 the building was transformed into office space for the Alumni Association and renamed Alumni Hall.