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Keepsake boxes let Pioneers own a piece of Warren Hall history


A keepsake box containing a piece of Warren Hall depicts the building on three sides and features a photo of namesake E. Guy Warren. (Photo: Garvin Tso)

  • August 20, 2013

Interested in owning a chunk of Cal State East Bay history? For a limited time, purchase a piece of Warren Hall packaged in a box that resembles – what else? – Warren Hall.

“People had so much history with that building,” said Anne Harris, interim vice president for University Advancement. “We asked ourselves: How do we remember Warren Hall? How do we put a piece of it in their hands?”

The answer? Create a keepsake box boasting the school colors and an image of the iconic Cal State East Bay tower. A black-and-white image of the structure’s exterior wraps around three sides of the container, while a portrait of building namesake E. Guy Warren decorates the fourth side. Inside, a scrap of concrete from the demolition of Warren Hall is tucked into a square of bright red tissue. Attached with red ribbon, a tag outlining milestones in the building’s history finishes off the piece.

“It’s the shape of the building capturing literally every floor,” Harris said. “A picture of Guy Warren is on the back, and Cal State East Bay’s (logo) wraps all around the bottom.”

An initial shipment has been delivered to the Pioneer Bookstore on the Hayward campus.

“We have them here, and they should be available no later than Monday,” said Store Director Cory McLaren. “We’ve (already) had some requests.”

The goal is to support more student scholarships through sale of the Warren Hall keepsakes, priced at $20.

For those interested in taking home a piece of Warren Hall, McLaren said they will be displayed on a nesting table toward the front of the bookstore alongside other Warren Hall memorabilia ranging from diploma covers featuring an image of the administrative tower to Warren Hall postcards.

The concept for the Warren Hall souvenir evolved from a brainstorming session between University Advancement staff interested in sharing a memory of the landmark building with members of the Warren family and others who viewed the Aug. 17 implosion of the former CSUEB administration building.

The proportions of the 5-by-2.5-inch box mimic the rectangular form of the 13-story concrete-clad steel building that stood sentinel over the Hayward Campus for 42 years. When it’s doors opened in 1971 to students attending classes and staff and faculty working in its offices, the structure was known simply as the Administration Building/Library Complex. It was renamed in 1980 in recognition of Guy Warren, whose efforts – including an engineering study he helped pay for -- persuaded state leaders to build the then-new university on its Hayward hills site.

Members of the Warren family, including Guy Warren’s son, daughter-in-law and grandsons, have given the keepsake boxes favorable reviews, Harris said.

“They absolutely loved them,” Harris said. “They felt it was a good way to honor the building, and they were very pleased that it had his name and a great picture of him.”

Response from others in the university community also has been supportive, she said, adding that while walking across campus with Warren Hall boxes in hand, Pioneers have expressed interest and inquired about how to get their own.

“The response has been very enthusiastic and positive,” she said. “They want a piece of the rock.”

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