WESTMINSTER — Words like "magnificent" and "stately" fell from the lips of the literary as they gathered in the academic quadrangle to dedicate the renovated and expanded Western Maryland College library.
The next day, students in carrels in the spacious and well-lighted first floor simply used words like "great" to describe the result of what college officials called "the most singular event" in the school's 125-year history.
"Once I can find my way around here, it will be great," said Cindy Robey, a 26-year-old graduate student.
"There's a lot of extra space for studying. There wasn't before. You didn't have a choice but to use the library, because there was really no place to study in dorms."
The Ellicott City resident did not attend Sunday's dedication, which attracted about 250 people, mostly WMC officials and alumni. Gov. William Donald Schaefer, slated to receive an honorary degree inlaw, did not attend the event because of pressing concerns in Annapolis. Without attending, he cannot receive the degree, WMC officials said.
William S. Keigler, a former chairman of the college's trustee, received an honorary degree in humane letters.
The event's keynote speaker, Lillian Moore Bradshaw, a 1937 WMC graduate and a formerpresident of the American Library Association, noted that while the library expansion was a cause for celebration, "it is not a stopping place, not even a resting place.
"We must continue to set our goals for educational excellence. Tomorrow's agenda will require our commitment, emotionally and intellectually, to a momentum that preserves and advances libraries," she said.
The Hoover Library was named in1975after retired dentist Samuel H. Hoover and his wife, Elsie, who donated $1.2 million to the project.
Hoover and his wife pledged last week to donate $1.5 million to the college to establish a $1 million scholarship fund and a $500,000 maintenance endowment for the Hoover Library.
The Hunt Valley couple's pledge establishes the largest endowed scholarship fund in WMC's history. Details of the scholarship fund were not available.
During the dedication of the $10 million project, which doubled the size of the library to 72,000 square feet, President Robert H. Chambers said the college sought to construct a building that would be "classical yet modern" and "stately but also friendly."
The architects, the Hillier Group of Princeton, N.J., "succeeded magnificently" on all fronts, creating one of the finestlibraries of its kind in America, Chambers said.
WMC and the architects received an Excellence in Architecture award from the New Jersey Society of Architects for the plan.
The two-year project involved the construction of a three-story addition at the front of the building and the complete renovation of the existing structure, built inthe 1960s.
The revamped library features a computerized card catalog and reference system.
Other new services include audiovisual media and microcomputing centers, group study rooms, a commons and an archives-special collection room.
The periodicals reading room, curriculum library and reference area are clearly marked in the new building.
Tracy Eagan, a 21-year-old senior, was impressed by the library's computer center, noting that students no longer will have to run back and forth to Memorial Hall to use computers.
"The library is more conducive to studying," she said.
"It has a lot more to offer."