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Alfred University Welcome Center at the Fasano House

Welcome Center at the Fasano House
Main Campus
Constructed: 1880
Re-constructed: 2006
In Honor of: The Fasano Family and the alumni brothers of Delta Sigma Phi
In this building: University Relations
The house at 71 N. Main Street in Alfred is an important structure not only for its architecture but also to the history of the village and Alfred University.

Originally constructed as a private home circa 1880 by William Clarke Burdick it's a two-story, L-shaped frame structure with a cross-gable roof and gabled dormers. Intricate woodwork embellishes the eaves and dormers as well as other features of the house. As a notable example of the Eastlake style, the house is a contributing building to the village's historic district.

Born in Alfred, William C. Burdick, a man of "sound judgment, of sterling business and Christian integrity" attended the Alfred Academy and was a prominent member of the local Seventh Day Baptist Church. He owned and operated the Allegany Cheese Company, the best known firm in Western New York because of his reliability and honesty. His love and support for Alfred University included generous philanthropic gifts as well as serving on the Board of Trustees for 45 years.

Burdick's second wife, Amanda Crandall Prescott, was the daughter of Judge Clark Crandall, one of Alfred's pioneer settlers. She also attended the Alfred Academy and was graduated in 1848; she furthered her studies elsewhere and became a music teacher. When her first husband, E.S. Prescott, died in 1879, she returned to Alfred and eventually married William Burdick in 1885.

In 1893, Amanda invited local women to meet informally in her parlor to establish a reading club. The next year it was officially organized and named the "Amandine Club" to honor Mrs. Burdick for opening her home for their weekly meetings. The club's activities were, and still are, social and cultural. In 1936, the organization joined with another local group and is currently the Allen Civic - Amandine Club.

Following the death of William Burdick in 1902, Amanda was elected to succeed her husband on the University's Board of Trustees. She established the Amanda Malvina Burdick Scholarship and gave to the University, with her stepdaughter, Susan M. Burdick, a men's boarding hall (Burdick Hall) as well as the land currently occupied by Carnegie Hall.

Amanda died in 1920 and has been described as a person with "rare personal charm, broad sympathy, and wise judgment."

Susan M. Burdick sold the house in 1922 to the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity which owned and operated its organization there until 2003 except for a short period during World War II. The University housed regiments of the Student Army Training Corps on campus and needed the main women's residence, The Brick, for their barracks. Needing a place to now house the women, the University made agreements with the fraternities to use their quarters. Hence the Burdick/Delta House was turned over to the University and used as a women's hall. It was there that the nurses corps was established; this corps later led to the formation of the University's College of Nursing.

Fire twice damaged the house. In 1936 a fire caused by the blow torch of a painter gutted the attic and caused damage estimated at $8,000. A slate roof and the winding stairway made it a very difficult job for the firemen. In 1981 a fire broke out on the third floor, believed to be caused by faulty wiring. The fire and water damage was extensive.

The Burdick/Delta House represents the dedication of Alfred's pioneers to working hard and succeeding, to be contributing members to their town and strong supporters of education, as well as supporting the education and cultural knowledge of women. As a fraternity house for over 80 years, it contributed to the life of hundreds of the University's alumni, including a number of members of the Board of Trustees. It will continue to be a focal point for the University in its role as a welcome center as well as a reminder of Alfred's rich heritage.

Alfred University stopped recognizing all Greek societies (fraternities and sororities) in 2002. Delta Sigma Phi turned its house over to the University. Members of the fraternity that had owned the house for more than 80 years led efforts to raise funds and contributed more than half the total needed to restore and renovate the house for its new life, (Jon Tabor '55 matched dollar-for-dollar all contributions made to the renovation fund.) as an alumni welcome center and home to the Division of University Relations.

The Welcome Center at Fasano House is dedicated to Joseph, AU class of 1954 and the late Ann Saunders Fasano, class of 1953, and their late son, Patrick, class of 1980. Joe and Pat Fasano were both Delta Sigma Phi members.

Through the efforts of Robert Corbin, a 1956 AU alumnus, the University obtained the services of nationally recognized architect Elizabeth Corbin Murphy of Chambers Murphy & Burge Restoration Architects, Akron, Ohio. She worked with interior designer Vivian Hyde of Alfred to uncover and recreate the original architectural details, including intricately carved woodwork, stained glass and raised plaster decorations on the wall. They scraped through layers of paint and paper to determine original color schemes to make the restoration as historically accurate as possible. As much as possible, the exterior of the building and the first floor have been restored to their original Victorian character.

They called upon several local artisans to help them with the restoration. Artisans Joe Dosch, Leroy Herrick and Joe Fasano '53 helped to create woodwork. John Gill '75, professor of ceramic art, made molds so that the raised plaster designs could be replicated. Mary Harris '91 made stencils used to decorate the downstairs meeting rooms. General contractors were Alan and Jason Burdick of Burdick Building Supplies of Alfred - and descendants of the family that originally owned the house.