The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Alumni Welcome and Conference Center officially became the new front door to the University May 16 in a ribbon-cutting celebration ceremony.
The AWCC, located along Oshkosh’s Fox River on the corner of Wisconsin Street and Pearl Avenue, is a 44,000 square-foot facility, which offers a 500-person ballroom with picturesque, floor-to-ceiling windows, a 38-person executive board room with state-of-the art technology, an outside patio with gas fire pit, onsite catering, hearing loop technology, ample free parking and more. The AWCC is home to three advancement division offices: Alumni Relations, the UW Oshkosh Foundation and the Business Success Center.
Beyond its ability to host events and roll out the welcome mat for alumni, current and potential students, faculty and staff and community visitors, the construction of the state-of-the-art facility has also helped continue the transformation of Oshkosh’s downtown riverfront, community leaders agree.
“It’s exciting for the University that there is finally a conferencing space that meets the needs of the community on campus,” said UW Oshkosh Foundation President Arthur Rathjen. “The Alumni Welcome and Conference Center complements what’s already happening in Wisconsin’s Event City.”
See remarks from the May 16 grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting…
UW Oshkosh influential in transformation of Oshkosh’s riverfront
To date, more than 160 events are already booked at the AWCC. It is one more sign that UW Oshkosh and other facilities and developments along the Fox River are drawing increased interest and activity as the community continues its embrace of a waterfront that, for decades, was more backyard for industry than a recreational and scenic attraction.
“The waterfront serves as a focal point for all of the progress we are making in Oshkosh,” Oshkosh City Manager Mark Rohloff said. “Public access to the riverfront is important for making Oshkosh an attractive location for visitors and residents alike. The combination of riverfront improvements by the city, University and private sector are helping transform our riverfront into a genuine destination.”
“We know there is huge value to riverfront development,” Rathjen said. “As a venue, the AWCC affords another place for activities to happen along our river.”
Rathjen calls the Fox River one of the “jewels” of the Oshkosh community and said the large-scale continuous development and improvement of the riverfront—and the area surrounding it—is long overdue.
In 2007, through the shared vision and investment of UW Oshkosh students, the University opened the Student Recreation and Wellness Center along the banks of the Fox River.
Beyond Oshkosh’s riverfront being a literal home to the UW Systems’ third largest campus, UW Oshkosh and the UW Oshkosh Foundation have now to-date taken on two projects—the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center and now the AWCC—that serve as “a bookend” to the downtown riverfront space in Oshkosh, Rathjen said.
“The University’s partnership with the hotel group and the construction of the AWCC brings much needed conference and meeting space to downtown Oshkosh. This will have a multiplier effect on our economy, bringing visitors but also activity to downtown businesses that have been lacking visitors to their establishments,” Rohloff said. “The collaboration between the University and the city of Oshkosh has been nothing short of outstanding. We recognized the vision that the University had in making the welcome center an attractive entrance to the University, and the riverfront also serves as a front door of sorts for the city as well.”
May 16 dedication event serves as celebration
The Alumni Welcome and Conference Center dedication event kicks off just ahead of commencement weekend at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 16.
Prior to the ribbon-cutting, city and campus leaders spoke at the program highlighting the partners and purpose behind UW Oshkosh’s newest campus building. Following the program, donor walls were unveiled, and the new center hosted an open house featuring refreshments, building tours and live music on the patio.
Rathjen said the development of the University’s newest building helps create a more distinctive UW Oshkosh.
“These days, our campus doesn’t look much like any of the other ones out there. This is really a chance for us to celebrate distinctiveness,” Rathjen said. “Our buildings and grounds—the “curb appeal” so to speak—really give a great first impression, something I think parents, students, alumni and visitors will really feel when the open our door.”