Albion Interactive History / Floyd Kent Visitors Center

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / Buildings / Starr Commonwealth

Floyd Kent Visitors Center, 1966

While walking around campus with Floyd Starr on an autumn day, Kent remarked about the need for a visitors center. Then offered to build it for him. At first Starr was reluctant because he already felt he had such facilities, but a few days later he found compromise.

Starr conceived a dual facility, in part the “hospitality center” which Floyd Kent envisioned and in part a “communication center” for a public relations complex. On the ground level, one large room with a kitchen could provide accommodations for visiting groups and staff get-togethers. On the main floor, a receptionist’s desk and a small lounge, flanked by offices, would serve the public relations department and the editorial staff.

The final plan evolved into an amicable compromise which pleased one and all. On a bright Sundayafternoon, September 3, 1966, an appreciative assemblage of staff, boys, and friends gathered in Webster Hall to meet the donor and to hear the dedicatory address delivered by Mrs. Lenore Romney, Michigan’s First Lady at that time. After the benediction, Starr invited the guests to a reception in the new Floyd Kent Visitors Center. “After all,” he reminded his quests, “the building we dedicate today has beenprovided in large part that we may better express our hospitality to you.”

Less than two years later, Starr wrote his nephew, Dwight Starr, in Roswell, New Mexico, “Tomorrow I conduct the funeral service of Floyd Kent. After more than half a century of friendship, it is going to be a very painful duty to perform. But, since his only son Tom made the request, I could not think of refusing him.” At age eighty-five, Starr might well have “found it very hard” to conduct Mr. Kent’s service. He had been suspecting his own mortality for some time, and the roll of deceased friends lengthened with each passing year.

Source: Keith Fennimore. Faith Made Visible: The History of Floyd Starr and His School. Albion, Michigan: Starr Commonwealth. 1988.

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