SMU Campus Topping Ceremony Marks Milestone in Downtown Oakland

TC Clark

In a momentous event at the heart of downtown Oakland, Samuel Merritt University (SMU) commemorated a significant milestone with the topping off ceremony of its new headquarters building. The ceremony, held at the construction site on April 5th, 2024, marked a pivotal moment in the university's history, celebrating the completion of the structural framework of the campus.

Gathered amidst the city center, attendees signed the final structural beam which was then placed atop the building, a tradition known as the topping out ceremony. This ancient construction custom, tracing its roots back to Scandinavia, signifies the completion of the skeleton of the building and is often celebrated with a ceremony to honor the workers and stakeholders involved.

Reflecting on the journey that led to this momentous occasion, SMU President Wang underscored the significance of the event. "Less than one year ago, we stood on this very ground to break ground for our new campus," President Wang remarked during her speech. "And now, we stand here celebrating the topping out of Samuel Merritt University’s headquarters building. This is simply amazing." 

Onlookers in safety gear watch as the last beam is hoisted into the air.

During her address, President Wang highlighted the integral role played by both SMU students and construction workers in realizing the university's vision. "Just as our students are the heartbeat of our institution, our construction workers are the architects of our future," she emphasized. "Their dedication and hard work are transforming dreams into reality, paving the way for future generations of healthcare professionals."

President Wang also took a moment to express gratitude to the partners and collaborators who contributed to the project's success. "From the initial conversations with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to the collaborative efforts with architectural and construction firms, we have overcome numerous challenges to reach this point," she acknowledged. "Together, we have turned a vision into a tangible reality."

Attendees marveled at the towering structure rising before them, envisioning the profound impact it would have on the future of healthcare education and the communities it serves. With anticipation building, the completion of the SMU headquarters building heralds a new era of innovation, excellence, and service in downtown Oakland.

As the ceremony came to a close, it left an indelible mark on the landscape of Oakland, symbolizing the resilience, determination, and collaborative spirit that define Samuel Merritt University and its commitment to shaping the future of healthcare education.

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