Dedication of the Penny B. Evins Learning Commons
Posted 10/19/2018 11:05AM
At the St. Paul's School for Girls Leadership Donor Celebration on Thursday, October 18, we announced the surprise dedication of the Penny B. Evins Learning Commons—a dynamic new learning space named in honor of our Head of School. This project was made possible by a generous gift from current parents John and Barbara Wakeman P'19.
"When Penny Evins arrived at SPSG in 2013, she came with a vision, a plan, and a dream to transform the educational experience," said John. "Penny's talents, passion, and desire to enhance SPSG resonated with our family. Our giving goals were simple - let's help make as many of Penny's dreams for SPSG, including the Learning Commons, a reality. The Penny B. Evins name on the Learning Commons is a powerful legacy for a Head of School who has had a significant impact during her tenure."
The Wakeman family has a long history of being strong financial supporters of SPSG. Four years ago, John and Barbara began giving at a significant level which has assisted Penny and her team in transforming the SPSG learning experience. The new Learning Commons is part of their four-year philanthropic commitment to the school.
With the Wakeman's gift, the Penny B. Evins Learning Commons, originally dedicated in 1960 as the Clara Crane Library, was renovated this past summer from a traditional library to a modern learning space. A design team of educators came together to reimagine the space and ensure a thoughtful and dynamic architectural plan. In partnership with alumna Michelle Hooper '80 and the architecture firm Marshall Craft & Associates, the team created a shared learning space where ages and disciplines come together in a natural flow, without the silos of walls and artificial boundaries.
"It is overwhelming to consider this profound and humbling honor," shared Penny. "Teaming with Barbara and John to achieve a shared vision for the school is a privilege. The partnership with The Wakeman family has fueled excellence and, simply put, made me a stronger leader—better able to serve this treasured community.I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be in this place, at this time, with such giving and caring individuals."
The space was built to be open, accessible, and responsive to group projects, showcasing both the interactive style and individual natures of our learners. It cultivates conversations and deep thought. It embodies the very core of SPSG and The St. Paul's Schools: interactive relationships with both people and ideas in a community that feels like home.
Erin Moyer, Director of Library & Media Services, feels fortunate to facilitate learning and community building as he serves in his role within the Penny B. Evins Learning Commons.
"Providing an open work space to serve as the academic hub for our students will be vital in helping SPSG grow and meet the needs of all of our students," shared Erin. "Whether they are working on a group project for their history class, studying for an upcoming quiz with a classmate, or simply looking for resources to help them answer the questions they encounter in their classes, the Penny B. Evins Learning Commons is here to meet those needs. The open layout, natural light, and brighter colors create a welcoming environment that any educator would love to call their workspace. I cannot wait to see how our students utilize the newly-transformed setting in the years to come."
The students and faculty at St. Paul's School for Girls are indebted to the Wakeman family, both for recognizing the accomplishments of Penny B. Evins during her tenure as Head of School and for providing a new learning environment for the school community.
Please watch the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at the renovation of the Penny B. Evins Learning Commons. If you are inspired and interested in making a gift to the school, contact Kimberly Stevenson Parks '86, Director of Development, at 443-632-1020.