The Crown Jewel on Campus
Less than a mile from the beach, a train ride away from New York City and Philadelphia, and the center of the rich diversity that is the Jersey Shore, is the remarkable town of Long Branch. Residents, college students, and visitors have a multitude of resources at their disposal year-round: from the beach and Pier Village to the unique late-night vibes of Inkwell Coffeehouse.
Located in West Long Branch, Monmouth University was founded in 1933 and is prominently known for its beautiful aesthetics, superlative academics, and competitive Division One athletics. Group tours and orientations for potential students come and go year after year, and the comments are almost always about the magnificence of the historic campus. Without a blade of grass out of place, Monmouth prides itself on the integration of the old with the new. Several modern buildings have been constructed in the past few years, including Rechnitz Hall, which houses art-related studies and a spacious technologically-savvy gallery. However, the most recognizable and cherished building on campus is Wilson Hall.
Gazing at the towering structure with its Corinthian columns and statues looking down from the roof brings a sense of grandeur and dignity. The art and architecture transports visitors to another time. Built in 1929 by F.W. Woolworth Co. for a staggering $10.5 million, Wilson Hall was formerly known as the Shadow Lawn Mansion. The current designation as Wilson Hall refers to President Woodrow Wilson, who resided in the mansion for a period of time during his political campaigning. The spectacular edifice became part of the Monmouth University community in 1956. Its ingenuity and taste is derived from the vision of architects Horace Trumbauer and Julian Abele, who designed Wilson Hall with French Neoclassicism in mind.
Wilson Hall is recorded in the National Register of Historic Places and is regarded highly as a National Historic Landmark. The entrance of Wilson is grand, with a stained glass ceiling, studies embossed with gold mosaics and ornate oriental detail, and the staircase made famous by the 1982 film version of Annie. With the holiday season upon us, each floor of Wilson Hall is decorated with strings of icicle lights and traditional Christmas trees, bringing the memory of the musical numbers of Annie to life.
On a bright day the courtyard is a breathtaking site, featuring romantic stairways leading to rows of arches and fountains. The ornate architecture alone makes Wilson Hall a favorable destination for exclusive events and wedding photographs.
In April of 2015, Monmouth University will be home to one of the Jersey Shore’s most anticipated events, the TEDxNavesink conference. The conference, part of an international organization known for its philosophy of the spreading of ideas, will be held on Saturday, April 11 in the University’s Pollak Theater. The theme of this year’s TEDxNavesink conference is ‘Accelerators,’ which focuses on agents of change and innovation.
The Pollak Theater houses around 700 people. It is a roomy and effective space for live talks, with emphasis on independently organized technology, entertainment, and design. In addition to housing conferences, musical and aesthetic performances, Pollak is also home to a full art gallery, box office, and extra classrooms and a brisk walk from Wilson Hall.
After a day spent full of enriching TEDxNavesink talks, a reception will follow at historic Wilson Hall. This is a special treat and a chance for the audience, organizers, and speakers alike to mingle, share thoughts and experiences of Accelerators in their own lives, as well as absorb the surrounding art and architecture. Monmouth’s philosophy, Where Leaders Look Forward, seamlessly meshes with the visionary ideals of TEDxNavesink, ultimately making Monmouth University the perfect backdrop to convey the spirit of TEDx and the unique intellectualism and versatility of the cherished Jersey Shore.
Tickets to TEDxNavesink on April 11, 2015 are on sale now.