Lazaridis Hall gets digital monument to its donors and history.
A new interactive visual installation in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis Hall is now showcasing the donors whose contributions to the “Building Canada’s Best Business School” campaign helped finance the school’s latest expansion.
Lazaridis Hall, which is still under construction, has been open and holding classes since the beginning of the fall term. Revealed on Feb. 16, the new interactive display is yet another addition to the ongoing project. The installation consists of five separate, vertically-oriented screens, each made up of several touch-screen displays known as MicroTiles, a display technology donated by the local company Christie. The Toronto-based company Forge Media, another donor, used these displays to put together an interactive list of over 2,500 donors who helped finance Lazaridis Hall. The wall also acts as an interactive timeline of the business school’s history.
“You can be much more inclusive with who you recognize when you have a digital wall,” said June Perry, manager of stewardship and donor relations at Laurier.
“Anyone who gave a dollar to this campaign can expect to be listed there.”
Many of the donors featured on the wall have short biographies in addition to their name. “It provides another layer of recognition. For some donors, it’s important that people know who they are and why they’re giving. And hopefully it inspires others to give, so they might see themselves in these stories and say, ‘Hey, you know what, that’s like me! I thought about giving a gift and I think I could give a gift like this too,’” said Perry.
With a digital installation, in contrast to the older, more concrete forms of donor recognition like plaques or statues, there is an inherent dynamism and transience. According to Perry, these features of digital installations were ultimately seen as positive rather than negative in how old installations compare to new ones.
“At the end of the day, whether you engrave something in a plaque, or display it on digital, it’s always going to be rooted in the intention of the organization and the intentions of Laurier are to be recognizing these donors in perpetuity,” said Perry.
Another feature of a digital installation is the ability to add or remove donors. Perry said that the installation is primarily focused on those who donated to the “Building Canada’s Best Business School” campaign, but noted that in the future they may make the decision to include donors whose contributions weren’t received within the scope of the campaign. With respect to removing donors, Perry said that for those who can only make good on a portion of their commitment, they will still be recognized.
“The recognition, [however] would be adjusted to reflect their actual giving. That’s not something that happens lightly, and it rarely, rarely, happens,” said Perry.
“In principle, we would not want to accept a gift from a donor where it might impact the reputation of Laurier.”