With a combined 60 years of service, Dennis Hawley ’ 72, M’73, and Jim Hostetler
have overseen some of Bucknell’s largest,
most complex building projects, including
the Rooke Science Center, Academic
West, the Kenneth Langone Athletics
and Recreation Center and 11 residence
halls. What they didn’t build, they
renovated. During the last three decades,
the campus has grown from 1. 5 million
to 3 million square feet of interior space.
Before they retired this winter, we
asked Hawley, associate vice president
of facilities, and Hostetler, director of
construction and design, what makes
this cluster of Collegiate Georgian
structures such a special place.
What defines Bucknell architecturally?
Hostetler: There are key elements
and images. Flemish bond brick is a
very important element that makes our
buildings tie together so they look like
a family of buildings. Dennis and I have
worked hard to keep our architectural
vernacular consistent over the years.
Hawley: Another piece of it is
simplicity. Bucknell grew from Baptist
origins, and the Baptists were pretty
simple in their aesthetics. The landscaping is pretty simple, too. It feels
pastoral and calming. We’re not a city;
we’re able to spread out.
Is that look something you’ve had to
work to preserve?
Hawley: Every time architects come
in to interview, some will say, “Wow!
Your campus is so tied together. Let
me build you something different.”
Hostetler: Or they’ll say, “Let’s give
you a fresh reinterpretation of the
Georgian style.” And we shudder.
The master plans have been here for
nearly 100 years, and Bucknell, to its
credit, has lived by them. In the ’30s
a gentleman named Jens Larson came
here, and he literally wrote the book
on campus master planning — Dennis
and I have copies of it. There’s a legacy
of master planning here that makes
this place special, and we’ve tried to
How has your approach to designing
buildings changed over 30 years?
Hostetler: Technology is now driving
design and construction [when we
consider] the size of buildings, the
size of classrooms and aspect ratios.
Pedagogy has changed too; it’s much
more collaborative than it was when
all you needed was a room full of chairs
and a blackboard. When we renovate
older buildings, modern-day code
requirements mandate elevators,
expanded bathrooms and so forth, but
we also want to preserve the historical
aspects. They’re complicated projects.
What were your favorite buildings
to work on?
Hostetler: The Weis Center for the
Performing Arts is one. My initial job
here was a temporary, two-year contract
to help build Smith and the Gateways.
The Weis Center popped up between
those two projects and, during construction, we discovered it wouldn’t
have stood up if it were built as designed.
In the end it all got fixed, and that led
to the University asking me to stay. I
would also add the Campus Theatre,
where we got to breathe new life into
an old building. They were literally
scraping soot off the original 1941 murals.
Hawley: The development of the
50 acres we’ve been working on for
five years is another. That was a real
green-field site, literally cornfields.
We put in roads, walkways, the whole
works. That’s something that few of us
get a chance to plan and design. The
last one is the ongoing restoration of
the Carnegie Building. Most of our
buildings weren’t built like it to begin
with. It’s pretty spectacular.
To see how much campus has grown in the
last 30 years, watch a video at bucknell.edu/
bmagazine or in the Bucknell Magazine app.
By Matt Hughes
Jim Hostetler (left) and Dennis Hawley ’ 72, M’73
have capped off careers spanning three decades —
and more than a million cubic feet of construction.
Legacy of master