Project to Transform Burns Tower Underway

Mar 10, 2021
The Pacifican

By: Angelique Doty 

The Burns Tower has always been the hallmark of Pacific’s Stockton campus and served as the tallest building in the city for about three decades. Recently, the university announced a project to transform the Burns Tower into the main entryway and welcome center of the university. The purpose is to create an engaging, informative campus visit experience for prospective students and their families, and the community. 

Chris Ferguson, Vice President for Enrollment Management, is leading the project in partnership with the President’s Office.

According to Ferguson, optimizing the campus visit experience is in alignment with implementing a comprehensive strategic enrollment management plan—one of several initiatives designed to attract and enroll more students to the University. The goals for this project are to exponentially increase the number of prospective students that visit campus as a part of the college search process, ultimately leading to more undergraduate student enrollments; physically bring Pacific’s iconic entryway and the enrollment marketing team together, creating marketing and recruitment materials and campaigns designed to conversationally engage prospective students and their families through the admission pipeline.

Ferguson has been collaborating with President Callahan to create a new space to welcome prospective students and their families to campus.

First, they worked with a physical plant to redesign the first floor as the welcome center.  Then, they removed the counter desk and replaced it with a few high-top tables and chairs, and modular seating for guests. They want to have an open floor plan without barriers between guests and tour guides and other staff members. Additionally, they are creating a small restroom for visitors to use in the space. They are expanding beyond the first floor to create new space for tour guides and the enrollment marketing team.

Ferguson feels that the project was successful in reaching the initial goals because the original project was completed on time.  The expanded project of creating workspace for enrollment marketing is in progress.  Ferguson talks about his personal gains from the experience: “As a new member to University of the Pacific’s community, I’ve learned how supportive and collaborative the many departments, divisions, and faculty and staff are. It’s been a pleasure to meet new people that are enthusiastic about this project and the potential it has on how we welcome people to our campus community.  It truly has been a pleasure to work with talented and dedicated colleagues from the President’s Office, Physical Plant, Student Life, and other employees throughout the community.

Grant Bedford, Chief of Police, reached out to support the project and other initiatives designed to welcome more people to campus. Grant shared that he and his team often introduce themselves to visitors and provide impromptu tours, which is a perfect example of how the campus unites as a community to recruit and retain students.

The Burns Tower was named for Robert Burns, Pacific’s first alumnus to serve as the president of the university. Burns served as president for 25 years.