After more than 50 years as Goucher’s library, the Julia Rogers building has gotten a facelift—and a new designation as an academic center.

Here are some highlights:

The Robotics Lab

With more than four times the space she used to have, Jill Zimmerman, professor of math and computer science, can challenge her mobile robots, Anna and Otto, to navigate elaborate new obstacle courses. Students also have more room in which to operate Armand, a robotic arm that can grip objects and write words.

The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE)

The center offers support and resources to students on topics like study skills and stress reduction; in the 2012-13 academic year it served 57 percent of Goucher’s students. Formerly located in cramped quarters in the Thormann International Center, ACE is now airy and inviting and includes staff offices and a testing center filled with natural light—and offering a great view. “ACE is like no other space on campus. The former space felt like home to the students; it was inviting, warm, and safe. We want to make sure the new space feels that way, too,” says Peejo Sehr, director.

Welch Center for Graduate and Professional Studies

The Welch Center, formerly a humble suite in Van Meter Hall, now is a 20-office wing boasting a conference room, reception area, and reading nooks. Faculty members once located across Dulaney Valley Road from Goucher’s campus now work in proximity to their colleagues.

International Commons

Faculty in the Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, and Spanish language programs for the first time are housed together. The new space for the Modern Languages and Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (LLC) departments includes classrooms, conference rooms, and an International Commons—a perfect setting for open houses and presentations. “I am thrilled with the spaces that we have, and, more than anything, with the ability to communicate with everybody in the department rapidly, fluidly, and seamlessly,” says Florencia Cortes-Conde, associate professor and chair of Hispanic LLC.

Kratz Center

The sun-drenched Soper Room, a seminar room, and two faculty offices form the Kratz Center for Creative Writing. Founded in 1999 with contributions from the late Eleanor Kratz Denoon ’36, the center brings writers of renown to campus and each spring hosts a writer in residence.

Already, students seek out the lounge to read a book, write a poem, or simply think. “The Athenaeum is a hub, but this is quietude. We need both,” says Elizabeth Spires, professor of English and co-director of the center.

Julia Rebecca Rogers (1854-1944) helped found the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Bryn Mawr School for Girls. Although she did not receive a college degree, Rogers was strongly invested in women's education. A friend of Goucher's fifth president, David Allan Robertson, Rogers bequeathed to the college the majority of her estate, which totaled nearly $950,000. These unrestricted funds were used to build the Julia Rogers Library, which was completed in 1952.