On the first day of classes at Walla Walla College on Dec. 7, 1892, a layer of snow had accumulated on the ground overnight, yet work was still underway to install the heating system in the Administration Building — the only building on campus at the time.

In her book “Bold Venture: A History of Walla Walla College” Terrie Dopp Aamodt, professor of history and English, depicts the scene as one of activity and community.

Classrooms, kitchen, dining hall, and the residences of nearly all faculty and students were housed in that one building. The stove in the kitchen wasn’t working, and the sounds of hammers blended with preparations for classes.

The university was primarily a residential campus then as it is today. A sense of close community was inevitable in those compact quarters and remains a hallmark we still enjoy on campus and share with fellow residents of the Walla Walla Valley.

This month Walla Walla University begins a year-long celebration marking the 125th anniversary of its founding.

Given that construction was underway on that first day in 1892, it seems fitting that this month we begin our 125th anniversary celebration by breaking ground on a $4 million state-of-the-art renovation of Bowers Hall, home of the WWU School of Business. The complete renovation of the space and a 3,000-square-foot addition will transform the 1924 building into a cutting edge, 21st century learning environment.

Our School of Business is growing, and performance metrics routinely confirm the quality of the program. In 2015 and 2016, seniors in the WWU School of Business scored in the 96th percentile on the Major Field Test in Business (MFT).

This test is taken by approximately 69,000 business seniors from 563 business schools across the nation. Since 1992, WWU business seniors have averaged in the top 12th percentile every year on the MFT.

Employers also recognize the skills of our business student interns and graduates who are sought after by companies such as Boeing, Entertainment Weekly, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Starbucks, Twitter, Walla Walla Community College and Baker Boyer Bank.

At these and many other successful companies, our business graduates work as accountants, analysts, developers, entrepreneurs, financial consultants, managers, marketers and business owners. With more than 3,500 WWU alumni living in the Walla Walla Valley, it’s likely you know one or two of them.

Integrity is central to our School of Business program and is at the heart of our values-based Christian learning environment. If you would like to meet our students, our Career Center would be happy to arrange for an on-campus interview or to have you join our annual career and internship fair.

We also invite you to join us on campus for the Bowers Hall groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, Jan. 16, at noon. We would love to see you there.

John McVay is president of Walla Walla University.