‘Hecht’s Last Hurrah’ event gives tribute to residential hall before demolition

As Hecht Residential College nears its time for demolition, the university commemorated the freshman dorm building’s legacy in an event held just outside of the 12-story tower.

‘Hecht’s Last Hurrah’ was the community’s way of saying goodbye to one of the most prevalent residential colleges on campus this past Tuesday, April 26.

“I haven’t been to this part of campus in about three years,” said senior Dave Marsh, who attended the event.

“It’s very sentimental and it’s very interesting to see everyone come together,” Marsh continued.

The event comes in light of this year’s announcement that Hecht would be the first building taken down for UM’s Centennial Village, a new housing complex that will primarily house incoming freshmen.

Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments were served to students and faculty in attendance, with offerings including sliders, fried yuca and mini key lime pies.

Students were able to sign a poster that bore the event’s name to honor Hecht’s memory, and a commemorative Hecht jersey was displayed near the poster for attendees to admire.

Students wait in line to take photos with Sebastian the Ibis during the farewell event.
Students wait in line to take photos with Sebastian the Ibis during the farewell event. Photo credit: Sharron Lou

Tablets were also available for participants to take selfies and Sebastian the Ibis was also available for pictures and high fives.

While many in attendance were excited for the event and its allure, some students had mixed emotions about the decision to take down Hecht forever.

“I think it’s a bad time to take it down just because of the housing situation,” said Amanda Neve, a freshman biochemistry major who lives in Hecht.

“I guess it’s a good thing to do new stuff. But still, I just think it’s going to have some negative consequences around the environment at UM.”

Third-year residential assistant and senior Carrie Furman had a different take.

“I’m sentimental because I’ve lived here for four years,” Furman said. “But also I’m really ready for new housing. I mean I’m graduating soon, but five years down the line I’ll come back and see campus to see how the new village looks.”

A portrait of Florence Hecht was on display during the event next to the small stage near Hecht residential college.
A portrait of Florence Hecht was on display during the event next to the small stage near Hecht residential college. Photo credit: Sharron Lou

Florence Hecht, after whom the building was renamed in 1986, was also honored at the event.

Having passed in 2012, her portrait was displayed next to the small stage where several Hecht affiliates spoke.

Hecht served as a UM trustee since 1983, financially contributing greatly with her husband, Isadore Hecht, to several areas within the UM community.

Her family was also in attendance Tuesday night, being honored with a plaque presented by senior vice president of student affairs Dr. Patricia Whitely.

“It’s a sad night, but an exciting night, too, in terms of the future,” said Whitely in a speech addressing the crowd.

“I actually knew Florence Hecht and met her many, many times. She came to every single Midnight Breakfast, which was before Pancakes with Pat. She was part of this building, and tonight we will keep her memory alive.”