On Saturday, May 2, a number of Bryn Mawr community members, as well as members of the Perry family, came together to toast the legacy of Perry House one last time.
Speakers included President Kim Cassidy, former Associate Chief Information Officer and Equal Opportunity Officer Florence Goff, Nia Turner ’05, and current students Khadijah Seay ’16 and Danielle Cadet ’16.
After paying tribute to the original Perry House in her remarks, Cassidy spoke excitedly about plans for the “new Perry.”
“Through its resources and programming, Perry will stand as an invitation to the community to gather for conversation, education, celebration, and creation,” Cassidy told the gathering. “The new Perry will provide not only the space to house the Black Cultural Center but also showcase its resources in a way that invites people to engage with the printed materials, artifacts, and collection items…The Relaunching Perry House Committee and the many friends of Perry House, both on- and off-campus, have set a course for a vibrant and dynamic future for Perry House from which students of color at Bryn Mawr and the entire community will benefit.”
This week, Seay, Cadet, and several other students and staff members took tours of the interior section of the new dormitory where “New Perry” will be located.
“I’m excited about the new space,” says Seay. “Especially all of the natural lighting. There’s a lot of room for us to do programming that can engage the entire community.”
The new Perry is part of the larger construction project of a new residence hall on the site of the former Haffner Hall. The entire residence hall is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2015. Perry will be located in what was formerly the French tower, which has been entirely redone and fully updated.
The renovation plan honors the historic role of Perry House by creating a specifically designed space for the programming offered for and by the participating affinity groups, and by making it more accessible to all students.
Perry will be open for residency to returning students who are members of the student groups Sisterhood, BACaSO, Mujeres, and Zami. It’s also open to students who share the cultural background of members of those groups and all those who personally identify with the affinity groups.
With a total of 29 new beds, the new Perry will be able to house 22 more students than last lived in Perry House.
The space will also feature a community room, kitchen and dining space, a library space, a faculty office space, and more.
Purchased by Bryn Mawr College from the Perry family in 1962, the original Perry House first served as the Spanish language house. In the 1970s, Sisterhood requested that the College designate this house as the Black Cultural Center. Over the years, students with the groups BACaSO and Mujeres also lived in Perry.
There will be a grand opening celebration for the new Perry this fall. There are also plans being made to commemorate the old Perry at this year’s reunion.