An open house celebrating the new Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center was held in September, with three generations of family members in attendance. Colorado College’s new children’s center is named in memory of the late Cheryl Schlessman Bennett ’77, an education major who was passionate about children’s welfare and taught elementary school in Colorado.

Friends and family members in attendance at the open house include, from left to right, back row, Bill Bennett, Eric Bennett, Deb Angell ’74, Susan Schlessman Duncan ’52, Lee Schlessman ’50; front row, Sandy Garnett ’75, and Mick Fredericks ’76.

Construction of the new $2 million children’s center was made possible by a gift from the Schlessman family. Schlessman family and friends in attendance at the event were Lee Schlessman ’50 (Cheryl’s father), Susan Schlessman Duncan ’52 and Jim Duncan (Cheryl’s aunt and uncle), Bill Bennett (Cheryl’s husband), Eric Bennett (Cheryl’s son), Sandy Garnett ’75 (Cheryl’s sister), Mick Fredericks ’76 (Cheryl’s cousin), Deb Angell ’74 (Cheryl’s cousin), and Peggy Christie ’77 (Cheryl’s college roommate) and Alex Christie.

The new 9,000-plus square-foot center will accommodate 64 children, from infants to preschoolers, nearly doubling the number that the former children’s center could hold.

Friends Hiwot Rhodes and Chase Wagenschutz chat at the children’s center open house.

Beth Dovenspike, director of “Cheryl’s Center,” and Sandra Wong, dean of the college and dean of the faculty, both spoke at the open house. “At Colorado College, we often talk about enabling our students to become life-long learners. As we think about our own childhoods, many of us realize how much our earliest social and learning experiences mattered,” Wong said. “The center creates the kind of community we value. It attracts faculty and staff to CC, and builds connections as children grow up together and share friendships,” she said.