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Belles bless new student center

Jen Mall | Friday, April 22, 2005

A sense of community was truly the aura on the Saint Mary’s campus Thursday as hundreds gathered to dedicate the new Student Center and Noble Family Dining Hall. Among those attending were students, faculty, staff, sisters, alumnae, donors and the Board of Trustees.

“The new Student Center is a wonderful addition to the campus,” said Sister Louisita Welsh, who attended the ceremony. “It is a central place that will bring everyone together. It is also a place for learning to continue outside the classroom whether it be through lectures or just talking with fiends at a meal.”

The new Student Center has been open to the public for just over a month and has quickly become the center of campus life. It houses a 98-seat theatre, meeting rooms, student lounges, a Cyber Café, the bookstore and 1st Source Bank. Excite-ment has been mounting all week, highlighted by “themed bargain days” offered by the bookstore. These included country-western-Monday and rock-Tuesday, where discounts were given to students wearing themed clothing. 1st Source Bank, which is also located in the new student center, held a raffle in honor of the dedication.

Thursday’s events began with tours and an open house in the new Student Center. Staff members said they were thrilled to have students and guests look around the new space. The day’s festivities continued with a Mass of Thanksgiving held by Father Kenneth Molinaro in the Regina Hall Chapel.

At 5:15 p.m., the front courtyard of the Student Center was packed with community members for the ceremony and blessing. College President Carol Mooney directed the ceremony, stressing the day of celebration for Saint Mary’s College. Mooney also made it a point to thank Mary Lou Eldred, the former Saint Mary’s president who was very influential in the building of the new Student Center.

The event proceeded with prayers led by members of the Saint Mary’s community and the physical blessing of the building by Father Joe Carey. Immediately following the ceremony, Sodexho held a community picnic on the Alumnae Green, where students and the community continued the celebration.

Eldred said she was “overwhelmed” at seeing the new student Center for the first time yesterday. Eldred said she worked very hard to see the addition of a student center at Saint Mary’s.

“Saint Mary’s really needed a gathering place that was centered around students,” Eldred said.

Linda Timm, vice president for Student Affairs, has seen the Student center go from the very first visions to the finished product. She said she was overjoyed that the Student Center has only been open for a month and is already being utilized.

“Every time I walk by and see students studying, attending lectures or even sleeping in the lounge, I know it is being used exactly as it should be,” Timm said. “I think we exceeded students expectations to a certain extent … ‘Wow’ is pretty much what we heard.”

Many of the students are also thrilled with the opening.

“[The building is] an awesome addition to the campus,” said freshman Amber Zila. “It is something everyone whether freshman or senior, living on or off campus, can use.”