Kutler Center Officially Dedicated; Ribbon Cut

By Jack Goldfisher

The Kutler Center for Interdisciplinary Studies was officially dedicated after school Friday, and the Kutler family cut the building’s ribbon in a ceremony featuring speeches from top administrators.

More than 50 alumni and faculty as well as the building’s architect Lester Tobias attended the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday afternoon.

Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts opened the ceremony with a speech that highlighted the history of the building, from its first imagining as “both an entity and a program, classrooms and a curriculum,” to its present state housing over 200 students enrolled in interdisciplinary courses. 

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

Huybrechts quoted Emily Dickinson’s ‘I Dwell In Possibility,’ saying, “I can never resist an 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.

Head of Upper School Audrius Barzdukas emphasized “the well-lived life is the interdisciplinary life” that Kutler embodied. 

“As our community passes through, around, and outside these walls it is a reminder to each of us to pursue that well-lived life,” he said. 

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

“[The 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,” he added. 

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. 

“But 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.”

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

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