WILMINGTON — The College completed this fall a new entrance to campus that both reflects a modern institution entering its second 150 years yet offers a sincere nod to WC’s rich heritage.
Wilmington College is RISING and the new gateway at Main Street/Fife Avenue and College Street is a physical indication of the College embracing its distinct role in higher education.
The project’s major donor, 1959 alumnus Sidney Mishkin, passed away Oct. 29, a just days after the latest manifestation of the former board chair’s generosity to his alma mater was completed when the electronic message sign was connected with the College’s digital network.
Support from alumni and friends of the College made the gateway possible as it replaces what for some 60 years was an understated front door to the campus.
Indeed, Mishkin was a student when the College’s formal entrance was about 100 feet up the road and visitors turned from Fife Ave. onto Whittier Place Drive, a thoroughfare traversing the interior of campus that was closed to traffic in 1958.
While much of that original gateway remains — brick pillars and black wrought iron fencing — its history is celebrated as part of the new gateway’s design.
Removed to accommodate the new gateway were a coming events message board, a campus directional sign and a long brick wall designating Wilmington College, the latter of which given by the Class of 1962.
The Class of 1935 provided for area landscaping, the coming events board and the directional sign as its 50-year reunion gift in 1990.
The gateway features both substantive and complementary elements on both corners of College Street where Main Street transitions into Fife Avenue. The eastern corner hosts a brick sign emblazoned with the College seal and “Wilmington College, Founded by the Religious Society of Friends 1870.”
On the western side, a tall monolith highlighting the historic seal rises from a concrete and brick paver surface along with a brick platform that houses a large, two-sided, electronic message screen visible to both east and westbound traffic.
Behind both corner fixtures are brick columns attached by black metal fencing in a concrete base at ground level. The seven columns represent Wilmington College’s seven core values: community, diversity, excellence, integrity, peace/social justice, respect for all persons, and service/civic engagement.
College officials worked with the architects in designing a gateway that both reflects the College’s 151 years of history and its modern renaissance. Indeed, elements from WC’s two newest facilities, the Center for Sport Sciences and Center for the Sciences & Agriculture, can be seen in the gateway design.
Also, the brick and black metal fences hearken the College’s original gateway built 100 years ago as a gift from the 1919 graduating class.