New Additions to Providence College Campus

PC Science Complex

This new building, the Science Complex, opened with the Fall 2018 semester. Shown here in its night-time illumination, the building contains the administrative offices for the science departments, as well as new, state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories. One room that I use occasionally houses the confocal microscope, about which you will hear in a later post.

PC Torch

This torch sculpture reflects the significant character of the Dominican Order’s founding of Providence College. While pregnant, Blessed Joan of Aza, Saint Dominic’s mother, had a dream of a dog holding a torch. She understood this to signify that her child would light a fire across Europe with his preaching. Early saints in the Dominican Order include, of course, Saint Dominic, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Saint Albert the Great. Albert, for whom the Albertus Magnus science building is named, would have appreciated the following image of the torch and the waxing crescent moon.

PC Torch With Moon

Ruane Center for the Humanities

Ruane Window

This magnificent window graces the Great Room in the Ruane Center for the Humanities at Providence College. The window was designed by artist Sylvia Nicholas, a stained glass master who lives in New Hampshire. Sylvia Nicholas also designed the stained glass windows in the St. Dominic Chapel, as well as several sculptures located throughout the campus. This masterful display of major figures in philosophy, history, science, and other areas of the humanities, was installed in the Fall 2017 semester, following the building’s dedication four years earlier. To see details of the individual panes, simply explore the galleries for each row, below. How wonderful to see Darwin next to Gandhi and Shakespeare next to Galileo! These are the sorts of juxtapositions one has the liberty to explore in a liberal arts education.

Row 1 (Top)

 

Row 2 (Second from top)

 

Row 3 (Second from bottom)

 

Row 4 (Bottom)

PC’s Labyrinth & Sundial

Shepherd’s Corner doesn’t have the corner on labyrinths.  Providence College newly converted a roadway into a walkway in front of Hunt-Cavanagh Hall.  Two delightful surprises were built into the walkway–a labyrinth and a sundial.

PC Labyrinth

PC Labyrinth

On the College’s website the labyrinth is described as follows:

“The labyrinth at the entry of the Department of Art and Art History represents a miniature replica of the 13th-century artistic motif featured on the floor of the great Gothic cathedral in Chartres, France.

Walking the Chartres labyrinth (Image source unknown)

Walking the Chartres labyrinth
(Image source unknown)

The medieval fascination with labyrinths was inspired by ancient prototypes, the most famous coming from Greek mythology where Daedalus builds a labyrinth for King Minos at Knossos to house the Minotaur.  The labyrinth also shares qualities with eastern mandalas as a symbol of sacred geometry.  Gothic builders incorporated the labyrinth into many Catholic churches of Europe (i.e., Amiens), recasting it as an instrument of pilgrimage and prayer.  The pilgrim followed 11 winding circuits set inside four quadrants culminating in a rosette center.  In this manner, the pilgrim was able to embark upon a spiritual journey to Jerusalem right in the local church structure itself.

The incorporation of this art historical motif in the visual arts district of campus not only connects Providence College to a long and rich tradition of sacred spaces and iconography, but provides a beautiful stopping point for admissions tours, gallery visitors, alumni, and current faculty, staff, and students.”

The sundial, of analemmatic design, is interactive.  Stand on the date and your shadow tells the time.

PC Sundial

PC Sundial

Sundial In Use (PC photo)

Sundial In Use
(PC photo)

An Unpleasant Encounter

Car WindowI bought a new car about a month ago, a 2014 Subaru Outback.  Then, last Thursday (March 20) I was out to dinner with a friend.  After dropping her off near the Providence College campus, I was driving home, going south on River Avenue, a few blocks south of Smith Street in Providence.  I heard a loud noise, as though something hit my car.  Indeed, something had, hitting the window in the cargo area on the passenger side of the car.  It was a BB, most likely, based on the service agent’s assessment of my description.  Although it doesn’t show well in this photo, the window is shattered, looking like a finely woven spider web.  I took the car to the dealer for repair, and somebody’s idea of fun cost me about $500–not fun in my book!  I reported the incident to the Providence Police, so hopefully they will investigate and prevent something even more serious happening to someone else.  If you live in Providence, you probably don’t think of River Avenue, near PC, as a dangerous area.  I think it will be a while before I drive it in the dark again, though.