The Bradley McNeil '93 Learning Commons
Manlius Pebble Hill School broke ground in June 2013 on what has become the new heart of the MPH campus and the life force of our challenging, vigorous academic program. The Bradley McNeil ’93 Learning Commons encompasses a state-of-the art library space designed for the way students gather information and learn in the 21st century.
The Learning Commons is unlike school libraries of past years. It is equipped to help students bring the world into focus through technology. Conceived as a portal to exploration, it has been carefully designed to foster not only the acquisition of information, but the sharing of information – an acknowledgement that it is the sharing of knowledge that leads to understanding, new ideas, and progress.
The building features flexible, multi-use spaces suited to both quiet, individual study and to collaborative group work among students and faculty. It also houses a multimedia/distance learning classroom that has opened new opportunities to collaborate with other schools and access far away resources. Separate areas designated as Lower, Middle, and Upper School library space accommodates the varying needs of students in all grades. Importantly, the new library has been built with an infrastructure that will not only meet current technology needs, but enable MPH to respond promptly to the future’s ever-changing technology demands.
The Bradley McNeil ’93 Learning Commons, overlooking Jean-Paul Field, has been named in honor of Bradley Stuart McNeil, who, sadly, lost his life in a tragic accident 11 years after graduating from MPH.
Intensely curious about the world and the people in it, Brad was constant in his respect of others and masterful at the art of friendship. His parents, Ed and Jutta McNeil, and sister Anja ’88 believe that Manlius Pebble Hill did much to shape Brad’s values and expose him to the wonders of learning. During his years at MPH, he gained a strong sense of self and discovered a passion for writing. He became a skilled writer and had been hoping to attend the creative writing program at Montana State University.
In his father’s words: “Brad’s interest in writing was stimulated by many of the teachers he had at MPH and by his thoughtful observations of the world around him, a quality stimulated and enhanced by his education at MPH.”
Brad balanced his abiding concern for the common good with keen respect for individualism. He would be pleased to see his name on the Learning Commons, a building that has united all of us on the MPH campus while serving each person’s individual quest for knowledge.