Universities must go beyond teaching calculus and chemistry and expand students' minds toward historic preservation efforts, a well-known preservationist told supporters Wednesday night.
Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, called upon Kansas University to protect its oldest buildings, keeping them as symbols of commitment and knowledge for future generations to follow.
"It gives us a standard against which to measure ourselves and our accomplishments," he said. "And it confronts us with the realization -- sometimes exhilarating, sometimes disturbing -- that we, too, will be held accountable, that future generations will look at our work as the standard."
Preservation efforts are strong in Lawrence, Moe said. He particularly enjoys downtown's "main street" commercial district and renovation of the Union Pacific depot.
"Most towns are not this historic," he said during an interview this morning. "This is a real treat."
Moe visited Lawrence for the 100th anniversary celebration of Spooner Hall, home to Kansas University's Museum of Anthropology.
The museum itself is a symbol of preservationists' struggles, he said. When it opened in 1894, Spooner was KU's sixth-oldest building. Today, it's the school's first to turn 100 years old, meaning that "major chunks" of university history already are gone.
During the next 10 years, another three KU buildings will hit the century mark: Stauffer-Flint Hall (1999), Bailey Hall (2000) and Dyche Hall (2003). Their continued presence reminds students of the "nobility of learning," Moe said.
"Education is an important thing, a weighty thing, an uplifting experience not to be undertaken lightly," he said.