Ribbon-cutting opens Kutler Center

Brendan Kutler’s ’10 family dedicated The Kutler Center for Interdisciplinary Studies by cutting the building’s ribbon in a ceremony featuring speeches from top administrators Sept. 28.

More than 100 alumni and faculty as well as the Kutler Center’s architect Lester Tobias and friends of the Kutler family attended the dedication and ribbon-cutting celebration.

Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts opened the ceremony highlighting the history of the building, from its first conception as “both an entity and a program, classrooms and a curriculum,” after Kutler’s death, to its present state as a class space for more than 200 students currently enrolled in interdisciplinary courses.

“[The Kutler Center] is a great start on what will be an ever-evolving program,” she said.

Huybrechts quoted Emily Dickinson’s poem “I Dwell In Possibility,” and said, “I can never resist and opportunity to speak a few phrases of poetry.”

“To be standing here now, in this beautiful space, our new academic hub, is to dwell in possibility,” Huybrechts said.

In Head of Upper School Audrius Barzdukas’s speech, he emphasized that “the well-lived life is the interdisciplinary life,” which Kutler embodied.

He said that to fully live a true interdisciplinary life, one must embrace both happiness and sadness, and expressed hope that the Kutler Center would serve as a reminder of this lesson to all members of the Harvard-Westlake community.

In the ceremony’s closing speech, President Tom Hudnut said that the building, “conceived out of tragedy and now risen in triumph,” is Kutler’s special gift to generations of students.

“[The many interdisciplinary classes offered] here now are likely among the tool kit students will find necessary as they move through college and into the workplace,” Hudnut said. “Every student at this school, for today and years to come, will be one of Brendan’s legatees.”

Hudnut expressed his dismay upon discovering there was a typo on the plaque in the Kutler Center, which he found out from a student who had sent him an email.

“The more I thought about [the email and the young woman that sent it],” Hudnut said, “the more I thought that this is likely what Brendan would’ve done.”

“He would have spotted the error and he would have done something about it,” Hudnut said.

At the end of the presentations, Jon and Sara Kutler, Brendan’s parents, and his sister Caroline Kutler, cut the ribbon and led the guests up to the second floor of the building for a reception.

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