Bienen’s music building success (Editorial)

With Northwestern officially announcing the decision to construct a new music facility to replace the decrepit Music Administration Building, Northwestern President Henry Beinen has reached a benchmark in his career. This is the final project that Bienen needed to complete in his time as NU’s president.

While at NU, Bienen has brought forth a number of significant changes, and by finally bringing the new music building plan to fruition, he can leave NU on his own terms whenever he wants without regrets.

Bienen is a master fundraiser, and since he entered office on Jan. 1, 1995, his efforts have accrued several billion dollars for the university’s endowment.

The added inflow of money has funded new developments for NU in myriad ways. Besides the erection of a new music building, it seems half of the campus is currently undergoing construction. Annie May Swift and Crowe halls are being repaired. A new soccer and lacrosse field, an expansion of North Campus parking facilities and the Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics & Diagnostics are also currently ongoing construction projects.

NU’s international programs have also been greatly expanded throughout Bienen’s presidency. The journalism and communication school in Qatar is scheduled to open in fall 2008, and it was just recently announced that the Middle East studies program will be adding five new faculty members to their staff. America’s growing interest in the Middle East is important in today’s international and political landscape, and the progress that NU has made under Bienens leadership shows the university has its priorities in the right place.

Considering the ever increasing number of applicants NU has received over the past several years, the new music facility located near the lake front will make a great addition to the already popular and well-resprected school. Hopefully the university will transform the old building into a space for students and not just turn it into staff offices.

The average tenure of university presidents is fewer than seven years, according to The New York Times. Bienen has managed not to wear out his welcome more than a decade after he took office, and now he can safely say he has done everything he could at NU. Kudos to Bienen, and most importantly congratulations to the School of Music for their long-awaited new building.