Kresge Auditorium becomes history

Kresge Auditorium was demolished this summer to make way for a Law School building that is set to be completed in December 2010.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a gaping expanse where Kresge Auditorium used to be. The building was razed earlier this summer to make way for a new Law School building that is expected to be completed in December 2010. Kresge was built in the early ’70s and dedicated along with the Law School’s Crown Quadrangle in the fall of 1975. But while the school’s student population has remained pretty steady, the expansion of programs and centers has resulted in an increase in the number of faculty, staff and researchers there. Kresge, of course, was not just a venue for Law School activities. Author and Stanford alum MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM read from his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Hours, there. Environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill talked about putting her body on the line by staging a protest in a 1,000-year-old Humboldt County redwood for 738 days.  F. W. de Klerk, the former president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner, defended his record amid protesters. FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke at Kresge during the release on campus of a George W. Bush administration draft report on cybersecurity. Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson talked about the outing of his wife, former CIA officer Valerie Plame. The Rev. Bernice King remembered her father, Martin, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson honored César Chávez. Feminist Betty Friedan gave her perspective on aging at Kresge, and Maxine Hong Kingston talked to a mostly freshman audience about the endurance of her book The Woman Warrior. As for the building itself, you can watch a time-lapse video of the demolition on the Law School’s website.

mime-attachmentAnd as one building goes down, another goes up. A Centennial Time Capsule filled with donated items from faculty, students and staff was “interred” Aug. 19 in the floor of a classroom in the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, which is under construction at the School of Medicine. Items in the 90-pound silver box include pipettes, medical textbooks, news articles about Stanford, the Nov. 5, 2008, New York Times announcing Barack Obama’s election to the presidency, a Stanford campus map and an issue of Rolling Stone magazine with actor Orlando Bloom on the cover, signed by Stanford medical students. If all goes well, the Class of 2008 will open the capsule at their 50th alumni reunion in 2058.

– Elaine Ray