Courtesy of Moakley Archive & Institute
Courtesy of Moakley Archive & Institute

Farewell, Archer and Donahue

Alumni, faculty share reflections and a bit of loss

April 27, 2016

Storage boxes and move-in dates have been drifting around the halls and offices of the Archer and Donahue buildings as the end of the buildings’ lease is quickly approaching.

As the last days of the Beacon Hill properties tick by, students, faculty and alumni are officially entering the nostalgic stage.

Senior Associate Dean of Students Ann Coyne, once a Suffolk student, graduating with the class of 1982 with a communications and speech degree. During Coyne’s time at the university, the campus real estate was almost unrecognizable from its current layout.

“It was the Mount Vernon building, Fenton, Archer and Ridgeway, which wasn’t an academic building, but it was the student activities center,” Coyne said.

The Sawyer building opened during Coyne’s last two years, which included the main dining facility on campus and the library in the basement.

As the campus undergoes even more changes with the imminent closing of the Archer and Donahue buildings, memories of special experiences sparked sentimentality and appreciation of the university.

Chris Hill, Suffolk alum and frequent adjunct professor in the past, said that Archer holds a special place in his heart as the old home of the Communication and Journalism department.

“The CJN office was in Archer when I was a student, and that’s where we used to hang out before or after class or to prepare for an upcoming debate with Dr. Bob Rosenthal, Gloria Boone, Vicki Karns, Deb Geisler and the other amazing CJN professors,” he said. “But it wasn’t until I returned to Suffolk University more recently as an adjunct professor that I knew Archer had a special place for me as a Suffolk student. When I first passed the Archer building upon my return, I couldn’t help but take the walk up the flight of stairs and peek in the window of the old CJN office.”

Archer was also the home of Suffolk President Thomas Fulham’s office when Coyne was a student. She remembered a student-led strike right outside the first-floor windows of the Archer building to protest the discontinuation of service scholarships that granted prominent student leaders with awards.

“At the time, the university decided there would be no more service scholarships, so we had a strike. We would go by with signs and yell and scream,” she said.

Coyne’s four years also saw the foundation of the annual Festival of Lights in Temple Street Park that has still been a standing tradition among Suffolk students.

Coyne shared her bittersweet reflections on the loss of the Temple Street properties, although she said she understands the fiscal need to leave the buildings behind. Still, to her, the heart of Suffolk‘s campus is leaving along with Donahue and Archer.

“I think our footprint is beautiful, but in my mind Suffolk is still behind the State House,” she said.

Nicole Dygon, associate director of the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement, echoed these sentiments on the office’s impending move from the fourth floor of Donahue.

“I’m excited for the students to have new spaces, especially with all the cool features in the new building, but I also think that it’s sad to leave a little bit of history,” she said. “This is the only building that I’ve known, it’s the only building that a lot of the students have known, but it’s exciting nonetheless.”

Coyne said she is looking forward to taking advantage of the many properties that are still in use.

“I think utilizing Sargent Hall for classes beyond the law school really is another way to move the campus forward,” she said.

What won’t change, Coyne said, is Suffolk’s dedication to its students.

“The thing that hasn’t changed for me is how the faculty and staff still feel about students,” she said. “I think that feeling of family, that feeling of helping students to really shine and make the most of their lives in all aspects, is still here.”

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