Thomas Commons groundbreaking May 19

Cornell College will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Thomas Commons renovation and expansion on Saturday, May 19, at 11:30 a.m.

A rendering of the new entrance to the Thomas Commons. Work will begin in June.

The ceremony, which marks the beginning of the $14 million renovation of the hub of student life on Cornell’s campus, will include words of gratitude to the donors and short speeches by students, trustees and administrators about the importance of the Thomas Commons to student life.

The building’s new name is in recognition of a leadership gift from Cornell’s most generous philanthropists, trustee Richard Small ’50 and honorary alumna and trustee Norma Thomas Small. The building has been re-named in honor of Norma’s parents.

“My dad, Cecil J. Thomas, came to Cornell in 1956 as buildings and grounds superintendent and he always felt it was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Norma Thomas Small said. “He loved Cornell and his job from day one. How pleased he would be if he were alive to see a beautifully renovated and enlarged Commons named for him and my mother, June.”

The renovation is set to begin in June. Plans include a new façade, a revised and expanded dining area for students and more classroom space. In all, the renovation will add approximately 9,500 square feet to the building. The project will be completed in phases and be finished by fall 2014. You can find out more about the project and see the latest renderings at