Cornell College dedicating renovated student center May 2

Cornell College is hosting a dedication ceremony May 2 to honor the donors who made possible the $12-million, 20-month renovation and expansion of the Thomas Commons, the college’s student center and activity hub. The dedication ceremony will take place there at 11:30 a.m. on the Orange Carpet.

The Thomas Commons, Cornell College's renovated and expanded student center, will be dedicated May 2.
The Thomas Commons, Cornell College’s renovated and expanded student center, will be dedicated May 2.

The Thomas Commons is named for Cecil and June Thomas. Cecil Thomas was Cornell College’s buildings and grounds superintendent from 1956 through 1973, and a consultant for the college from 1979 until 1991. He was deeply involved in the original construction of the building that now bears his name.

Their daughter, Norma Thomas Small, an honorary Cornell trustee and alumna, and son-in-law, Richard Small ’50, a life trustee, chose to name the building for Norma’s parents to honor their dedication to Cornell and Cecil Thomas’ involvement with nearly every aspect of campus.

The project added approximately 9,000 square feet to the building, including a new façade and entryway, new dining space, and a multi-purpose room. Interior renovations included a complete redesign of the Hilltop Café, which is the main student dining area, and Zamora’s Market, a student eatery that offers meals and snacks throughout the day. Other improvements included new office and study space, new lounge space and three additional classrooms, including one that also serves as a practice space for the college’s nationally recognized Mock Trial program.