Keene State College today broke ground on an expansion to its Mason Library, a project aimed at bringing its academic programming and research resources on genocide studies under one roof.
The college offers the only undergraduate degree in the country specifically focused on the subject. The launch of that academic program about 10 years ago followed the earlier founding of the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in 1983.
Construction this summer and fall will create additional classroom, office and storage space at the school’s main library, where the Cohen Center is housed.
The groundbreaking ceremony Monday featured a traditional blessing by local Abenaki elders.
“We particularly wanted to recognize that you always have to take care of your own space, your own world,” said Cohen Center director Hank Knight. “We haven’t done a great job of that with Native American peoples in this country. … If we’re going to be talking about things all over the world, we also need to be talking about our own backyard.”