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Lehigh Valley PBS plans to feature Lafayette in the next two editions of TEMPO!, its weekly news-magazine show. In the spotlight along with faculty and students are two of America’s most distinctive academic buildings, the historic Kirby Hall of Civil Rights and the dynamic, new Williams Visual Arts Building.

TEMPO! airs each Thursday at 8 p.m. and is repeated Friday at 9 p.m. On Nov. 8-9 the program will feature Kirby Hall of Civil Rights. On Nov. 15-16, the focus will be on the Williams Visual Arts Building. The pieces will be available to view on the Lehigh Valley PBS website ( after they air.

Kirby Hall underwent a $8.4 million renovation and the $3.5 million Williams Visual Arts Building was created in the former Hoffmann Motor Co. building during Lafayette’s spectacularly successful $212,987,748 fundraising campaign that concluded Oct. 26. The campaign has allowed Lafayette to achieve a national reputation for academic excellence and solidify its standing among America’s top colleges and universities.

Kirby Hall, built in 1929 as headquarters of the government and law department, was the gift of Fred Morgan Kirby, cofounder of the F.W. Woolworth Company and a Lafayette trustee 1916-40. Designed by Whitney Warren, the architect of Grand Central Terminal, and constructed of the finest materials, it was the first building in America dedicated exclusively to the study of government and law.

Its recent modernization gave Kirby Hall it the technological capabilities and mechanical infrastructure of a thoroughly modern center for teaching and learning to go along with the distinctive character and ambiance that has always marked it as one of the greatest academic buildings in the nation.

The TEMPO! segment will also focus on the Fred Morgan Kirby Chair of Civil Rights. Kirby Hall was F.M. Kirby’s second large gift to the Lafayette. In 1921, he endowed the first professorship in civil rights in the United States, spelling out his definition of “civil rights”: “Those absolute rights of persons in the possession of property and in the enjoyment of personal security.”

Featured are Diane W. Shaw, College archivist and special collections librarian; Bruce Allen Murphy, the current Kirby Professor of Civil Rights; Maria Fekete, a senior government and law major from Short Hills, N.J., who has begun work on a departmental honors thesis under Murphy’s direction; and James E. Lennertz, associate professor of government and law.

The 23,500-square-foot Williams Visual Arts Building, located at the base of College Hill where the Lafayette campus meets downtown Easton, is one of the nation’s leading high-tech facilities for art education and exhibitions. Ed Kerns, Eugene H. Clapp II Professor of Art and the building’s director, calls it “a genuine art factory where people can see each other working and really feel the buzz of activity.”

Dedicated in April, the facility is benefiting both Lafayette and the community, enabling the College’s academic programs in art to advance to a new level and offering art education programs for high-school students, open-studio sessions for community artists, and a spacious gallery for exhibits by local and regional artists as well as Lafayette artists.

Kerns, an internationally known abstract painter, is featured in TEMPO!, as are Jim Toia, director of community-based teaching and director of the Richard W. and Rissa W. Grossman Gallery, and students Megan Bodtke a junior art major from Franklin Lakes, N.J.; Kara Henry, a junior art and history double major from Sandy Hook, Conn.; Alexandra Pelberg, a senior art and religion double major from Bala Cynwyd, Pa.; and Carolyn Rodichok, a senior art and economics and business double major from West Chester, Pa.

Also interviewed or filmed working on their art were Nicole Maynard-Sahar, visting instructor of art; Ross Gay, a 1996 Lafayette graduate who is serving this year as Dean of Studies Humanities Fellow; Meredith Morse, a 1985 Lafayette graduate who lives and works in Sydney, Australia, and is currently a visiting artist and art historian in residence at the College; Vivian Fishbone, a community artist from Easton; and Vadim Stain, a visiting artist from Russia.

On view in the Williams Visual Arts Building through Dec. 8 is an exhibition showcasing the work of all 11 members of the Lafayette art faculty, studio artists and art historians alike.

Categorized in: News and Features