Fostering Connection and Inclusivity: The Lang Plaza Success Story

Posted: Sep 07, 2023

Just in front of the Macdonald Hall entrance is a 3,400-square-metre plaza featuring seating areas, a fire pit, a bio-infiltration garden and a water fountain named for former dean Dr. Julia Christensen Hughes.

The warm and welcoming Lang Plaza officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the fall of 2021. The two-year-old plaza is a gathering place for students, staff and faculty at Macdonald Hall — originally built as a residence, it was renovated in 2016 and reopened as the new home of the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics. Funding for the year-long plaza construction was part of a $21-million donation to the business school in 2019 from long-time U of G supporters Stu and Kim Lang through their Angel Gabriel Foundation.

The nature-inspired and environmentally friendly plaza is a fitting tribute to the man who inspired the Lang School. Gordon S. Lang was a modest man of strong family values, thoughtful leadership, and remarkable business acumen who would, admittedly be uneasy with the tributes bestowed upon him – but the warm and welcoming Lang Plaza will surely placate his humble sensibilities as it represents an inclusive and friendly entrance thus softening Macdonald Hall’s imposing façade.

Lang students, staff, and faculty have an outdoor space to gather socially or otherwise, to develop deeper Lang bonds, and to reflect quietly. With abundant seating and multiple visual and sound effects such as a fountain and a fire pit, there are harmonious areas to welcome and support everyone.

This inclusive environment promises to attract a multi-disciplinary component to the inviting space – one can visualize lively conversation and debate born of different perspectives and the new opportunities for friendship that will form as students across campus enjoy this unique and special space. And, as pandemic restrictions abate, students are particularly excited to reconnect and socialize at Lang Plaza.

Before the Plaza was completed, the Lang Student Association was obliged to host events across campus – Lang now has a beautiful home base to host and attend events where they can proudly display their Lang team spirit.

Students use the fountain as the perfect spot for a ‘ceremonial dance’ upon graduation – spirited new student traditions will find a home at Lang Plaza!

The game-changing contribution to the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics was monumental and heartfelt, to be sure, but the careful distribution of funds for initiatives such as the Lang Plaza are visionary – they demonstrate a keen understanding of team building, camaraderie, enthusiasm, and pride, the impacts of which will broaden exponentially with each graduating cohort.


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