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Phoenix Forward

Sperling Center, the campus of the future, opens


University of Phoenix president Bill Pepicello says that when he goes to work each day, he hears words such as “amazing,” “phenomenal” and “fabulous” echoing through the lobby of the glistening new Phoenix Main Campus building.

What a great way to start the day — and what an inspirational place for hundreds of local students to pursue their degrees every evening. Open since January, the campus hosted a grand opening celebration on May 24.

Also known as the John Sperling Center for Educational Innovation, the 10-story tower is located just south of the airport and across the freeway from the Los Angeles Angels’ spring-training park in Tempe. From the exterior, the building appears to be the antithesis of a traditional, ivy-walled college campus. And the interior doesn’t disappoint: High-tech displays dot the walls, colorful accents are scattered throughout the Student Resource Center, and a high-flying mobile that’s perched over the reception desk elicits superlatives from many passersby.

But what Pepicello likes best about his new digs is the “blending of the future with our history,” he says. “The new building, named for our founder, resonates with how the University has grown — what we’ve accomplished so far, and what we intend to accomplish in the future.”

Images of the first graduating class and other University firsts are on view in one hallway, contrasting with a futuristic, life-size video wall in an adjacent hallway that features alumni inspiring others to follow their examples of success. In the bustling Student Resource Center, a real-time electronic map shows students logging on to their University student website; 24/7, from anywhere around the world.

“Almost to a person, they find the map astounding,” Pepicello observes. “It helps all of us see just what an incredible system we are a part of.”

“Amazing things are happening all over,” he adds. “The positive atmosphere here helps build a sense of community and a definite feeling of I am a Phoenix — and happy to be one.”

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