From our Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Eric Hirst:
I’d like to be the first one to say to you, when Rowling Hall opens in Spring 2017, I invite you to “meet me at the Moontower.”
Rowling Hall is designed to bring together overlapping communities of students, faculty, staff, alumni, recruiters, business leaders, and thought leaders from across campus and around the world. In Rowling Hall, these communities will have the opportunity for spontaneous collaboration, purposeful interaction, sharing ideas and networking. People will come to the building to collaborate, present their ideas, play and be inspired. We’ll have innovative classroom and study space. We’ll showcase the intellectual capital generated by McCombs students, faculty, and alums. We’ll highlight the experiential learning opportunities of our community and we’ll attract the very best minds to our programs.
The café will be an important hub of activity for the building, offering healthy, diverse options for eating, caffeinating and relaxing in the evening with a beer/wine bar. We have planned the cafe to encourage collaboration and spontaneous interaction. Ideas that “change the world” will be hatched in that space.
Donors Susie and Kenny Jastrow provided a generous gift for the project’s community café. Not only did the Jastrows generously help fund the project, they asked current students to have a lasting impact on the new building by naming the cafe. The Jastrows offered to reward the winning idea with a prize of a full year’s tuition!
After a rigorous process, we have reached the conclusion of our Café Naming Competition! It has been a great ride. We began with 127 entries for the name from students from each of our programs (Full-time, Dallas, Houston, Evening, Executive, Mexico and MSTC). The Naming Committee narrowed the list down to the top 30. Students from all programs voted for the Top 5 names. On Monday, December 1st, finalists gathered for the pitch party.
The name “Moontower” establishes the café as a meeting spot, it pays homage to the cultural history of Austin as well as the iconic tower of the University of Texas.
The City of Austin erected the Moonlight towers in 1894 as a way to light up multiple blocks at the same time. The Moonlight towers made streets safer and made citizens more comfortable. The State of Texas recognized the towers in 1970 as State Landmarks, and the City embarked on restoration projects for the 100 year anniversary in 1995.
As Austin has developed and grown into a first-tier, international city, a few moontowers have been removed, but their importance as icons of old-Austin is evident through the preservation efforts which seek to reinstate them where possible. Culturally, Moon towers used to serve as safe meeting points for young people to interact and have fun. The café should serve this purpose in Rowling Hall.
As the McCombs School continues to gain prominence on campus and around the world, we need to further embrace the rest of University. A Moontower provides light for blocks around it, and our school needs to continue to be a place of enlightenment. A Moontower attracts people like a beacon, and we need to continue to bring people together. Our new building and café will serve these purposes, and should have a name that fits: Moontower.