Community leaders joined with North Central College alumni, faculty, staff and students to officially dedicate the newly completed Riverwalk Gateway, which includes landscaping and stately stone pillars to mark the entryway to the south end of campus and a new pathway along the West Branch of the DuPage River.
President Harold Wilde acknowledged that many consider the Riverwalk— first constructed in 1981—as the “crown jewel of Naperville.”
“We like to think of our campus as the city’s ‘crown jewel,’ so it is fitting that on this day the College and the Riverwalk have joined forces, symbolically and physically, to bring these crown jewels together,” said Wilde. “Thank you to everyone who made this project a permanent legacy and reminder of the unique heritage that has so long defined the character of this community and its college.”
The project resulted from a partnership among North Central College, the Naperville Park District, the Naperville Riverwalk Commission and the Riverwalk Foundation to improve pedestrian access and beautify the campus. Funding for the Riverwalk Gateway came from a grant from the State of Illinois’ Independent Colleges Capital Program, the North Central College senior gifts from the classes of 1961, 2004 and 2012, and a pledge of $500,000 from North Central College alumni James A. Bambule ’63 and Patricia C. Brady ’63 Bambule. The couple attended the dedication along with State Sen. Kirk Dillard, Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel, Riverwalk Commission Chair Jeff Havel and Riverwalk Foundation President Karen Solomon ’84.
“North Central and Naperville have been central to our lives,” said Jim Bambule about the couple’s inspiration to make the $500,000 commitment in May.
Other organizations that were acknowledged during the ceremony included the City of Naperville, Cemcon Engineering, Hitchcock Design Group, F.H. Pasche and the Naperville Park District.