Tonight we saw the end of an era; tonight we saw a bit of history flutter from our eyes and fade into the transient light that makes up our campus. We said goodbye to Myles Standish, Shelton Hall and Towers Dining Rooms for the last time tonight, though it may be corny it was like saying goodbye to an old friend.
For a lot of students these three dining rooms were their first experience as a college student. Their first meal that wasn’t prepared by Mom or Dad, their first meal where their family wasn’t sitting around them talking about their day, to most that could be a daunting experience, but for some it was their first step into adulthood. It’s that first step that you have to take, and it’s usually the hardest one to take, but when you entered a dining room like Shelton, it was made pretty easy for you. We loved opening Shelton dining room in the morning when no one was there, it was quiet, you looked out the window to the mist rising off the Charles and a sort of peace would come over you, just for a split second because soon that room would be filled with students just starting out their day. Once the room filled up you were transported back to what it must have been like 60 years ago when it was hotel. The ornate doors, the mirrors, and you could imagine Eugene O’Neill stopping in for a bite before returning to his room to do some writing. The room captured that history, sure it’s been modernized, but if you squinted enough you could see that past. Dean Elmore always talks about how we must always strive to build that sense of community on this campus; Shelton couldn’t have been a better example of what he was talking about. From the cooks to the cashiers you felt a part of that community the moment you walked in. You took that first step into our dining room and we welcomed you, the college welcomed you, the history welcomed you, that won’t ever leave your memory.
Just a block away you have Towers dining room, sure it was in the basement, there were no windows, it was the largest on Bay State rd. but from the time you walked in it got a lot smaller. Not because it was crowded, but because it was full of students just like yourself, eating and talking and sharing. The dinner table is that last bastion of togetherness that a lot of times we take for granted. We’re always in a hurry to go here and do that, tweet this and Google that, but taking an extra 20 minutes with friends is a struggle for most. At Towers we tried to instill that togetherness, the staff there was one of the best on campus, they made it their goal to make sure you ate, but not just ate, shared, enjoyed, relaxed and laughed. We hope we got it right for some of you.
She was a grand hotel in her day, shaped like a ship, named after an explorer and right in the heart of Kenmore, she was Myles Standish Dining Room. You want to talk about being transported back in time, walking into Myles does that in an instant. The wood paneling, the elegant chandeliers, the expressive murals, it had it all. Some say it was out of date for the 21st century, they may be right in some aspects, but most people wouldn’t have changed it for a second. It wasn’t easy to navigate with it’s three separate seating areas and maze like layout with the food stations, but after your second visit you could do it blindfolded. We used to have a cook their named Jack who for years was the grill cook, he’s since retired but on a Sunday morning you could here old Jack from out on Beacon St. He would be flipping those omelets, playing his jazz music and singing along teaching the freshman a few things about music. And he knew everyone, and he knew everyone’s order as soon as they walked in, that’s what Myles was. Yes the building was historic and had that trace of elegance, but it was our employees that made Myles what it was. From Natercia the cashier giving you that smile when you entered, just making any bad grade go away; from Juan that gentle giant in the morning with his wonderful spirit to the baker Sonia who made the best cheesy bread that would rival any restaurant. Those employees made Myles what it was, and we hope that got across to the students.
But now we say goodbye, we are sad of course to see those dining rooms go, but we can’t help but feel optimistic. The new building going up at 100 Bay State is going to rival any dining facility across the country, we guarantee it. President John Kennedy often liked to recite this quote; “Change is the law of life, and those that look to the past or present are certain to miss the future”. Yes, there is change coming on Bay State road, it is a law of life, but by taking what we have, our employees and folding them into that new change, there is no way we’ll miss the future. We just can’t wait until we can share with you again, it is that sharing, that community, that relationship that we will continue to foster and build with you in the new building, we can’t wait for you to join us on this new adventure.