Visitors to the Carnegie Mellon campus can’t miss the university’s new David and Susan Coulter Welcome Center. The large doors opening onto the bustling thoroughfare, Forbes Avenue, will greet students, their families, alumni, guests and the community as they enter the dynamic experience unlike any CMU has previously been able to offer.
“The idea is to have a destination in the heart of campus where visitors can come to experience a bit of CMU,” says Beth Wiser, director of visitor experience. “They can engage in our story and leave with a memorable and positive impression.”
David (TPR 1971) and Susan Coulter funded the center with a $5 million contribution to create a new front door to campus that serves as a one-stop destination for all visitors, including prospective students and their families.
Housed in first floor of the first building constructed on the David A. Tepper Quadrangle, the Coulter Welcome Center showcases Carnegie Mellon’s history and traditions and provides a new home to CMU’s Undergraduate Admission offices. Having the Coulter Welcome Center and Admission co-located provides many advantages, says Mike Steidel, dean of admission.
“The Welcome Center showcases the highlights of the university and enhances the visitor experience,” Steidel says. “Once they complete their check-in, the space encourages them to wander around and enjoy.”
Part of the experience is helping to guide visitors to their destination. Those arriving for campus visits and tours will be able to check in online, and adjacent auditorium space will be utilized for group information sessions. A state-of-the-art interactive campus map is available 24/7.
Those visitors will be better served with improved logistics of moving around campus, Steidel says, yet prospective students and their families will still feel like they are having an intimate experience.
Inside, the Coulter Welcome Center showcases long-standing community traditions, like Carnival. Two of the event’s racing Buggies will be on display, along with photos and videos of CMU students from around the world. Entertainment technology students has developed a project for the space that is designed to encourage visitors to “picture yourself” at CMU, encouraging them to snap selfies with campus scenes.
The most notable aspect of the new space is that the Coulter Welcome Center will make a lasting impression on visitors by spotlighting the innovations and traditions of the CMU community through interactions with staff and student ambassadors in a visually stunning space, says Wiser. Through human interaction, it will ultimately connect visitors to the essence of the CMU community experience.
From the Admission perspective, “the biggest thing the Welcome Center has added is the element of history and notable aspects of the university that will be showcased there,” says Steidel. “It’s a big advantage to make an impression and impact, and for people to learn about the university onsite in a way that is interactive.”
A 1971 alumnus of the Graduate School of Industrial Administration, now the Tepper School of Business, David Coulter is a special limited partner with Warburg Pincus LLC in New York City. Previously, he was vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase and Co. and chairman and CEO of Bank of America Corp. In 2018, he was honored with the Tepper School Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a member of the CMU Board of Trustees and chair of the Make Possible campaign.