The Nick and Lou Martin University Center was celebrated by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Texas Wesleyan mascot Willie at a Texas-themed dedication on Tuesday.

Lou Martin spoke on behalf of the entire Martin-Baker family when she said how thrilled she and Nick were to begin the Martin Center campaign.

She described her pride in her family’s long-standing involvement with Wesleyan, which dates back to her grandfather James Baker joining the board of trustees in 1895.

“We’re so excited about the future of Texas Wesleyan and the role that the Martin Center will play in its future,” she said.

Hundreds of people, many sitting under a tent, attended the dedication. University President Fred Slabach spoke after the Texas Wesleyan chamber singers performed the national anthem and the alma mater.

“I believe that the Nick and Lou Martin University Center is the most important addition to this campus in a century, because this wonderful facility touches all the facets of the one thing that we hold most dear: our students,” Slabach said.

Sen. Beverly Powell said the chamber singers’ voices reminded her of why everyone gathered to celebrate the center’s dedication.

“This beautiful, world-class facility will advance our efforts to engage Wesleyan students and ensure their success while they’re here on our campus and far into their futures,” said Powell, a Wesleyan alumna.

After Wesleyan’s mascot Willie rode in on a horse, Student Government Association President Alyssa Hutchinson thanked Slabach and said the center was “a dream come true.”

“The Martin University Center is a dream come true and long overdue from the perspective of our students,” she said. “While it will be great for all students, I know it will be especially important for our students who don’t live on campus.”

Dr. Chris Ohan, assistant professor of history and faculty chair, also gave thanks to the donors on behalf of the Wesleyan faculty.

“Faculty and staff here at the university know that students who are actively engaged both inside and outside of the classroom are more likely to graduate than those who are not engaged,” he said. “A facility like this, like the Martin Center, will be key to that engagement for years to come.”

After the speeches, students ate Texas-themed food, took photos with friends at the photo camper, rode a mechanical bull, and mingled into the evening.

Senior theater major Raven Harris remarked on the powerful air conditioning and cool appeal of the building.

“I haven’t gotten a chance to explore it fully but what I have I’m like, ‘OK Wesleyan, I see you. You wanna do this right before I leave? It’s fine!'” she said with a laugh.

Freshman theater major Elena Cruce, who commutes from Benbrook, commented on how much she will be using the Martin Center in her time to come.

“This is the place I immediately go to whenever I don’t have classes for the food places, room to eat, and places to chill inside the game room and all,” she said.

Video by: LaTerra Wair

Student Government Association President Alyssa Hutchinson (left) and donor Lou Martin (center) cut the ribbon at the Martin Center dedication.
Photo by LaTerra D’Na Wair

Lou Martin gives her speech at the Martin Center dedication.
Photo by LaTerra D’Na Wair