Much has already been said and written about the groundbreaking for Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus. But it needs to be recorded for posterity that the ceremony on the grounds of the former St. Vincent's Seminary elevated the spirits of those who attended and participated.
First, the setting. For many of the 700 individuals at the groundbreaking, the ceremony was the first opportunity to get a clear picture of the site of the new arts campus that will be built around the old seminary's main building. Off to one side is the Mississippi River where the impressive Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge is taking final shape. On another side is the new Highway 74 access to the bridge where workers were hustling and bustling to lay new pavement. On another side is a thicket where everyone had to imagine the new Fountain Street entrance that will be built this year. Finally, on the Morgan Oak side are the grounds of the old seminary with its shaded lawns. Throw into this mix the new park planned for the slopes leading toward the river. It would be hard not to be emotionally affected by such a setting.
Second is the optimism and enthusiasm of those attending the groundbreaking. It has been a long time since such a large gathering in Cape Girardeau generated the excitement that was displayed at the ceremony. Something grand is happening in Cape Girardeau, and, for a couple of hours on a sunny spring day, those fortunate enough to be there were part of the magic.