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On any given Thursday
Spread over four floors and two wings (north and south), the 36 classrooms of Stokes Hall, Boston College’s newest academic building, bear active witness to a commitment to the liberal arts. The building houses the offices of classical studies, English, history, philosophy, and theology, but other departments—mathematics, economics, chemistry—teach there too. The mix is purposeful, says David Quigley, a historian and dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
The aim? To promote the “incidental and coincidental contacts” that lead to the “meaningful conversations that are at the heart of a liberal arts education.” Already, Quigley says, “when an idea has taken hold in the history department, you quickly see it migrating down the hall, up the stairs.” The students have made Stokes their own, turning the hallways’ recessed benches into study carrels, meeting with professors at the coffee bar, and, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., flooding classrooms in pursuit of econometrics or archaic Greek poetry. Each Thursday this spring, 174 courses met in Stokes. Boston College Magazine visited all three-dozen classrooms and learned at least one thing: The building works.