It would be disingenuous in the extreme to say that this past academic year has been like any other at the Center. Anyone who has tried to enter the building, work in the building, even visit the building, far less tried to leave the building, is all too aware of the construction project that began more than a year ago and will continue through February. But now there is clear visual evidence of the spectacular new facilities that will be part of the Ransom Center.
Throughout all of this turmoil there has been one constant and that is the positive spirit and unfailing good humor of the staff as they work through the distractions (drill hammer), inconveniences (water shutoffs, air conditioning cutouts), ever changing labyrinthine exits and serpentine entrances, and elevators that seem sometimes to be going laterally.
Sally Leach and Jim Stroud, with the help of Frank Yezer, have headed this project with enterprise, diplomacy, and intelligence. They have, in short, made it work. We are all in their debt.
Yesterday, September 14, on a quiet Saturday morning, I toured the building with David Lake, the chief architect for the project. Even in its unfinished state one is hardly prepared for this fantastic transformation of space from darkness and dullness to brilliant angles of light, and in Swinburne's words, "space for delight."
The entire staff is eager for the completion of this wonderful project, and no less eager to unveil it to our students, faculty, scholars, and the general public. We welcome all of you -- those who have supported this project as it began to take shape several years ago, and those of you who will enjoy it from now on. We at last have space worthy of our world-renowned collections and with our new galleries and theater we hope to share them with the citizens of Austin, of Texas and indeed the world.
Thomas F. Staley