On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, the IU Libraries celebrated the grand opening of the Brian D. Serot Commons in the Swain Hall Library. Named in honor of Professor Serot, who served in the IU Physics Department for 28 years, this space serves the Physics, Astronomy, Mathematics, and Statistics departments, and the School of Informatics and Computing.
The transformation of this space was made possible by Rose Serot, whose gift to the IU Libraries in memory of her husband Brian led to these long-awaited changes. The focus on students speaks to the Serots’ character and values. Brian was highly esteemed as a teacher and colleague, and Rose wanted to honor and remember him in a way that would have meaning for students and colleagues for many years to come.
This last time the library saw significant changes was in the 1980s, and the response to the new space has been overwhelming according to Bob Noel, Head of the Swain Hall Library. "The renovation of this space has already made a dramatic difference, especially in the lives of students who are making it their home away from home. As we move into the future, I am certain that Serot Commons will foster the high-energy intellectual exchange for which departments such as Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, and Astronomy are well known. My deepest thanks to Rose for making all of this possible."
The grand opening featured Brenda L. Johnson, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries, who focused on the changing role of academic libraries and how Serot Commons represents the 21st-century library. Joining Dean Johnson at the podium were Professor of Biophysics Rob de Ruyter and Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Physics Tim Londergan.
Renovations of the lounge and workspace area in Swain Hall Library took place over the summer of 2014. The space remains home to new books and frequently-requested items but has been updated with new workstations, comfortable seating, high and low shelving. The updates have made the space a more welcoming environment for undergraduate and graduate students looking for a place to catch up on their reading or to collaborate with classmates with research materials close at hand.
Professor Serot knew this space well and used it often over the course of his distinguished career. As a four-time winner of the IU Trustees’ Teaching Award, Professor Serot trained generations of scientists. He will be remembered by both his students and colleagues for his calm rationality and encyclopedic knowledge of the field. May this new space be a fitting tribute to Brian D. Serot, who gave so much to his family and friends, his students and colleagues, to Indiana University, and to the worldwide research community.