For decades, the Grant Street entrance to Buffalo State was just kind of there, a walkway to parking lots. It is now going to be an entrance to the college's past and future.
For this college Homecoming Weekend, the Grant Street entrance to Rockwell Road is flanked by a large sign for Buffalo State and the new Jacqueline Vito LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center.
The goal is for alums to come back and remember their good years on campus, and for prospective students for the college to assemble and hear about what could be their future along the Scajaquada Expressway and Scajaquada Creek.
College Alumni Association President Richard Trigilio said the building will be the sign of a new Buff State.
"This center will serve as the gateway to the campus for visitors, returning alumni and prospective students and their families," Triglio said. "It will demonstrate our strong commitment to provide a welcoming home that recognizes and embraces the diversity within our alumni community and delivers quality programming, mentoring and engagement opportunities for alumni and students. Thank you all for sharing in this wonderful day and for the contributions which made it possible."
There were a lot of those contributions - around $7 million worth - led by LoRusso, who earned two degrees from the college before going into teaching for many years, then property management. LoRusso put up $1 million herself.
"The need for alumni and students to come together and learn from one another," LoRusso said. "A rich heritage always begets a brighter future. This house will be a happy place for everyone that goes through its doors. It's a place to share ideas, to learn from one another and to return to the past and look forward to the future."
College President Katherine Conway-Turner said the center will be important to future Bengals.
"We know here at Buffalo state we have amazing things," Conway-Turner said. "We have a great education. We're connected to the community around us. We provide opportunities for our students to grow in so many ways. But now we have a signature place for them to gather as they're considering coming to Buffalo State."
The LoRusso Center is also flanked by another sign of a changing school, the privately-operated dorms that replaced some decrepit housing along Grant Street.