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University House Invitation

Dear University of Maryland community:

My wife Barbara and I will host several open houses of the nearly completed University House. The dates, to be posted widely, will be in October and November. We cordially invite you to come visit "our" new house. 

It is the home of the entire University of Maryland family. "Home," in the words of Maya Angelou, is "the safe place where we can go as we are." It is where we celebrate together important moments, create memories, and engage in conversations in its many comfortable nooks. It is also the official residence of the University president, where distinguished visitors to campus are welcomed. 

Planning of University House began before I was appointed. It was made possible by the vision, leadership, and generosity of the trustees of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, and other alumni and friends of the University. To them, I express on behalf of the University community our enduring gratitude. 

University House is of Georgian Revival design, which complements many of our other campus buildings. But a dwelling is more than bricks-and-mortar. It reflects and shapes a sense of place. University House embodies who we are and what we stand for as one of the top public research universities in the nation. It evokes the sense of pride that Marylanders feel about their state's flagship institution. 

University House is large, but not grand. It is stately and formal, yet comfortable and welcoming. It balances elegance, simplicity, and functionality. From its big windows that let the sky in, one can see the symbols of the three A's—academics, arts, athletics—that speak to our identity: academic buildings, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and Byrd Stadium. One can also see Oakland Hall, the Denton residence halls, and the students who hurry across the grounds on their way to classes. 

Inside University House, guests can see some of the strengths of our University. The shelves will be lined with books written by our outstanding faculty. Art from our University collections will grace every room and speak to our creative energy. 

The building itself reflects our commitment to sustainability. It uses alternative energy technologies, for example, and we expect it to receive a silver LEED certification. 

But the true "ornament of a house," as Emerson said, "is the friends who frequent it." So it will be with University House. Barbara and I look forward to welcoming the several thousand people who will come annually to University House, in groups small and large: student, faculty, and staff honorees; parents and alumni who will gather on Family Weekend; students of the incoming and the graduating classes, and their families; and many others. We greatly appreciate the staff and the student "ambassadors" who help us host these events. 

Last Friday evening was the inaugural reception at University House. The theme was international understanding through the performing arts. It followed the dazzling premiere of a bilingual and bicultural performance of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," co-produced by our students, faculty, and staff, together with their visiting counterparts from the National Academy of Theater Arts in Beijing. 

They all came over together, joined by 300 supporters of our performing arts programs. Fundraising enables our students to travel to Beijing in a couple of weeks and perform there. They will be wonderful representatives of our University. It will surely be an experience that they will remember forever. The party lasted well past midnight—the first of many more events at the home of the University of Maryland community. 

Please come join Barbara and me at an open house.


Wallace D. Loh, President