Event celebrates opening of the Nancy Richardson Design Center

Nancy Richardson

Nancy Richardson

The new Nancy Richardson Design Center hosted a grand celebration event May 8 to formally unveil the facility to the campus community.

The event was attended by several top CSU officials, including President Tony Frank, incoming President Joyce McConnell and Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda.

College of Health and Human Sciences Dean Jeff McCubbin introduced many of the dignitaries in attendance, including donor Nancy Richardson, a 1982 interior design graduate of CSU, who with her husband Curt, donated $8.1 million towards construction of the new $19.2 million building.

Center will evolve

“The RDC is open, but in my view it is not finished,” McCubbin said. “It will grow, adapt and change over the years based upon student interests and faculty interests. It was designed to enable that to happen. I’m really excited about how this has gotten off the ground. I can’t wait to see it in five years.”

RDC Director Laura Malinin described the design of the building and the planning process that preceded it, then introduced a current CSU student, Jacob Mueller, and a recent CSU graduate, Julia Lyons.

Mueller said that when he noticed the RDC being constructed across the street from his apartment complex, he became curious, stopped by, and Malinin introduced him to Paul Callahan, the center’s fabrication labs coordinator. Mueller, a mechanical engineering major, has been volunteering in the labs ever since.

“I really enjoy working with my hands, being a mechanical engineer, and it’s nice to get away from math every once in awhile and be able to get your hands on something,” he said. “I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this amazing center and provided students with the opportunity to work with their hands.”

From intern to staffer

Lyons was involved in the RDC planning process when she was a student, then interned at Salt Design in Fort Collins, a venture supported by the Richardsons’ Blue Ocean Enterprises that assisted OZ Architecture with the design of the RDC. Now Lyons has a full-time job there as an interior designer.

“I learned so much from these amazing women at Salt and their involvement in this project,” she said. “It’s invaluable to be a student and be able to work on a project of that scale.”

Nancy Richardson called the center a dream come true.

“I could never have imagined how full circle my education would come,” she said, noting that most of her classes were held in Aylesworth Hall when she was a student, and several years ago she returned to Aylesworth to speak to a design and merchandising class. “I realized that not much had changed since I sat in that lecture hall when I was a student. And CSU design deserves so much more than that.”

‘Once-in-a-lifetime project’

Richardson added that she envisions the RDC as a creative place where multiple disciplines come together.

“My hope for current and future students is that this building will always provide a safe place to explore their creativity and innovation, a place that inspires them and pushes them beyond their creative limits and boundaries,” she said. “A place where they can collaborate and be exposed to the thought processes of other disciplines. I stand in awe and look forward to seeing it unfold. I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to journey alongside such an amazing group of people on an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime project.”

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.