On October 19, 2019, in the midst of the Homecoming Weekend activities, alumni, faculty, and staff alike paused to honor two long-standing supporters of R-MA and dedicate a newly renovated space on campus to them.
Standing in what was once a typical school library is a new collaborative space with dynamic seating, low bookshelves that allow natural light to flood the room, and a conference room with retractable glass walls. It is an inspirational place that has already drawn in students to study, host meetings, and collaborate on projects. This transformed area is now known as the Betty and David Moore '53 Enterprise and Leadership Lab (MELL).
In greeting the crowd at the start of the dedication ceremony, R-MA President Brig Gen David C. Wesley, USAF, Retired, noted that the majority of the funding for the MELL came from alumni. “It will benefit our students for decades to come, and it moves us along in the path that Dean Hegedus and I are trying to get us to: to provide absolutely the very best in independent private education to our students,” he said.
Corps Commander Taylor Wreath ‘20 addressed what the MELL meant to the student body. “As a student of R-MA, I am very, very excited about this space you’re in right now,” she said. “My four years here on ‘The Hill’ have been some of the most innovative ones in R-MA’s history. From issuing students new laptops, to completing the Hadeed Innovation Lab, which I now have a class in, and now to completing the Moore Enterprise and Leadership Lab/Library, the school is coming into the 21st century in big ways. I say ‘library,’ but this space is so much more than that. It’s a collaborative learning space where students come together to get after their interests and academic goals. With new resources for research, new technology, and a fresh new look, students more than ever can ‘get after’ what they want. There is so much possibility and potential for what can be done here, which is the most exciting thing about it. It is not just about the space but the wonderful minds that will occupy it.
“So I thank all that contributed to the building of the lab,” Taylor concluded. “I thank the Moore family for their contributions to the school that led to the dedication of this space to them and on behalf of the students, we are grateful for this space that has been given to us.”
Dean for Instructional Leadership and Innovation Dr. Tess Hegedus commented that the reason for building a space that encourages an entrepreneurial spirit is for students like Taylor, who over the summer began her own business. “It’s for our students, it’s for faculty…it is a fluid and dynamic and open space for learning. We want people to come here. What we had found here was that the space was underutilized. It was a space where students weren’t coming anymore, and they weren't checking out books; they weren't utilizing a library the way that we wanted students to utilize the library.”
A look around the room shows modern bookshelves that are, in many areas, sparsely populated. Media Specialist Elizabeth Rogers P’05 has pared down the collection from 14,000 print copies, and was still re-stocking shelves the week of Homecoming. Dean Hegedus and Ms. Rogers are now making additional selections for the library to be aligned with R-MA’s pre-professional pathways.
“This is going to be a hub for not only print copies of literature for students to read, but also electronic databases for students to engage in research. So we are thrilled to have the space. We want our students to be here, and they’re coming, and they love it,” Dean Hegedus said.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Moore had shared with R-MA Chaplain Josh Orndorff that when he was a student at R-MA, the devotionals were held in the area where the MELL now exists, and so Chaplain Orndorff found it very fitting that a prayer was to be offered during the dedication ceremony. “I can’t think of anyone better to have this Enterprise and Leadership Lab named after them than the Moores,” he commented. “I’m appreciative for the faithfulness they have for this school and to their Lord as disciples.”
“I’m very honored, Betty and I are,” Mr. Moore said. He hopes that the laboratory will enable R-MA to live out the Power of Rise and build on each student's exceptional inherent talents.