Life Design at BGSU: Opening of Radbill Center marks new chapter of University initiative aimed at redefining undergraduate education
Collaborative space centralizes resources, improves visibility among campus community
By Laren Kowalczyk '07
The dedication of the Geoffrey H. Radbill Center for College and Life Design on Thursday marked a significant milestone in the growth and evolution of Life Design at BGSU, establishing the center as a prominent fixture in the heart of campus dedicated to student success.
BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers, University leaders, BGSU Board of Trustees members and alumni philanthropist Geoffrey Radbill ‘68, whose transformative gift in 2022 supported the construction of the Radbill Center, celebrated the opening of the beautifully renovated space on the third floor of the Mathematical Sciences Building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“As a public university for the public good, Bowling Green State University is steadfast in our commitment to redefining student success for the 21st century,” said BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers. “Life Design empowers our students to gain the skills and tools they need to succeed in college, leverage the opportunities at a major comprehensive university like BGSU and ultimately be prepared for career and life.
"We are so grateful for the generous support from Trustee Geoff Radbill and Jan Kohn, who have elevated Life Design with a transformational gift that will support our students for decades to come.”
The Mathematical Sciences Building, which was approved by the Board of Trustees in 1968 and opened in 1970, underwent significant renovations to create the Radbill Center space. The renovations that resulted in the Radbill Center were approved by trustees in April 2022. Architectural engineering firm SSOE Group breathed new life into the space, creating a dynamic, collaborative and functional home for the Life Design program, as well as developing a refreshed south façade and second-floor entrance experience that promotes new and existing functions within the Mathematical Sciences Building.
During Thursday's dedication, Life Design coaches and student ambassadors received praise from Radbill for their significant impact on student success.
“The Radbill Center is already fulfilling its purpose as a safe place for students to learn, collaborate, thrive and grow into their authentic selves, an opportunity for students to design their lives at BGSU and thereafter,” said Radbill, whose life partner, Jan, was instrumental in the vision of Life Design at BGSU.
BGSU sophomore Devin Darr shared the profound impact of Life Design on his journey. As a first-generation student, Darr said he struggled with feelings of impostor syndrome and the difficulty of his physics degree.
But he found the support he needed through Life Design.
“I remind myself that everyone has their own journey,” said Darr, a Life Design student ambassador. “You don’t need to have your whole life planned from now until graduation, but you can know if you are going in the right direction. I use reframing methods like that in my day-to-day activities to keep pushing forward and move past any barriers I face.
“As I look around this new space, I can’t help but wonder how many more students we can direct toward achieving their hopes and dreams. At BGSU, everyone has a story to tell, and I believe the Radbill Center is a place where these stories can be shared and celebrated.”
Life Design at BGSU launched in Fall 2020 to provide students with extra support in addition to traditional advising and academic resources. Life Design coaches help students make connections, jump-start their careers and promote the critical thinking skills necessary to navigate problems and discover workable solutions.
BGSU is the first university in the country to build a life design program of this magnitude available to all undergraduate students. It has drawn the attention of university administrators and educators nationwide interested in creating similar programs at their institutions.
The Radbill Center centralizes Life Design resources and services, allowing for additional programming and engagement among students, faculty and staff. Students are encouraged to meet with Life Design coaches or use the space to gather between classes.
The inviting and collaborative space promotes all facets of the life design mindsets taught through the program. Collaborative rooms are strategically located around the perimeter, available to students and used for one-on-one coaching.
In the fall, most sections of BGSU 1910: Life Design at BGSU - the first-year seminar that introduces students to the program - will be held in the Life Design Lab within the Radbill Center.
“Life Design is about providing the opportunity and support for our students to have a transformative experience. It is about empowering them to discover who they want to be and to design their future one step at a time,” said Adrienne Ausdenmoore, executive director of the Radbill Center for College and Life Design.
“It is our goal to help every student find their place to belong at BGSU, and if they don’t have a place quite yet, I want them to know that they are always welcome here.”
Updated: 02/27/2023 02:42PM