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Tonight the University will celebrate the Furness Building's restoration -- one hundred years to the day after its dedication. The celebration, the Furness Centennial Gala, will honor both the completion of a five-year, $16.5 million renovation project and the vision of its architect, Frank Furness. The event features a black-tie dinner celebrating the full restoration of the building and a preview of an exhibit on Furness called, "Frank Furness: The Flowering of an American Architecture." "[This exhibit] establishes Frank Furness as the man most in touch with the ideas . . . of modern American architecture," said George Thomas, exhibit curator and the restoration's historian. The exhibit will include architectural drawings and pictures of buildings Furness designed, Thomas said. It traces the influence of Furness' father and of his father's close friend and American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson on Furness, and it includes portraits of both painted by Furness' brother. The exhibit also features a dozen pieces of furniture Furness designed including, Thomas said, a crib that every child who slept in fell out of. Also included are a saber that Furness carried in the Civil War and a photograph of the architect taken the day before he earned a Medal of Honor in a Civil War battle. The restoration of the Furness building, Thomas said, has been exciting because the building is a "central building in American architecture" as well as one of Furness' major accomplishments. "It's a central building of [Furness'] mature career," Thomas said. "It's a great building with great spaces to go into." President Sheldon Hackney will be hosting the dinner, to be held in the reading room on the first floor, along with Leonard Lauder and Willard Rouse, the co-chairpeople of the restoration oversight committee.

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