By Matthew Wojtechko
The "Forward, Always Forward" campaign was announced on Nov. 30 at Heinz Field by Saint Vincent administration and board of directors.
The event was live streamed, and the recording can be found at stvincent.edu/forward, with the video played during this presentation found on the Saint Vincent Archabbey YouTube channel.
The overview document, which can also be found at the link, shows the campaign plans to raise $40 million for endowment, $40 million for infrastructure, and $20 million for current programs and student support.
According to a speaker at the event, $67 million has already been raised.
“With the expansion of the Latimer Family Library and Technology and Information Hub, Saint Vincent will meet the challenge of the interface of technology and the humanities,” the video that was played during the presentation said.
According to the video, the expansion of the library will include a new wing, which will include several art collections, and have digital access to international museums. Another building is said to be planned.
“A new student life and humanities hub will provide an atmosphere to bring students and faculty together for an open exchange of ideas and
cultural enrichment,” the video continued.
The video also announced that the hub will include the Citrone Family Commuter Center, the office of campus ministry, high-tech classrooms and areas for musical and literary performance.
“An integral part of the hub is an enhancement of dining facilities, to create an environment that facilitates communication among students and the wider campus community,” it said.
In addition to these infrastructural additions, the video says the campaign will also “establish and increase endowments for gifted students with financial need, and build endowment resources for the enhancement of faculty development and research.”
The video shows designs of these planned areas. It also provides background on Dupré Science Pavilion, the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve, the Operational Excellence Program in the McKenna school and describes people and organizations related to these entities.
Art Rooney II, president of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team and member of the Saint Vincent board of directors, spoke at the event after the SVC Singers sang two songs.
“Believe it or not, my family’s connection with Saint Vincent goes back more than 100 years,” Rooney said. “Obviously, we believe that Saint Vincent College is a great place to lay a foundation for a football season, or for the rest of your life as a student.”
Next, Br. Norman Hipps, O.S.B., president of the college, spoke. Hipps said that since Dupré was dedicated in 2012, there has been a thirty percent increase in science students and faculty. The expansion of Dupré, in the form of the new James F. Will Engineering and Human Anatomy Wing, continues this advancement, he said, as well as the upcoming additions to the community in the campaign.
“Staying true to our mission, strategically adding and caring for our physical plant, building the endowment for long-term support of students and faculty with a robust annual fundraising effort,” Hipps said, “we will keep Saint Vincent College on a trajectory of excellence as we move forward – always forward.”
Christopher Donahue, president and chief executive officer of Federated Investors and chair of the Saint Vincent College board of directors, spoke next.
Donahue related the additions in infrastructure, student and faculty
endowments, and academic programs to the Benedictine values of love of learning, community life and stewardship and spirituality, respectively.
“But I skipped the most famous of the Benedictine hallmarks, and that’s hospitality,” Donahue said. “Needless to say, the hospitality is demonstrated because 67 million [dollars] has already been committed to this campaign — applause is allowed. [...] And now it’s your turn and the world’s turn to join us in this effort of hospitality on our road to 100 million, and remember the great joy of going forward, always forward.”
Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, O.S.B., archabbot of Saint Vincent College and Seminary, spoke about the next steps of the campaign.
“While there are already tangible fruits in the early stage of the campaign, plenty of work remains to be done,” Nowicki said. “We now move to the completion of the architectural plan."
After playing the informational and promotional video, the Singers led the alma mater. The streamed event concluded in prayer.
Justin Hoffman, newly elected executive board president of SGA, was at the event, and said he was introduced to members of the board of directors.
“Student Government was there as representatives of the student body,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman said the additions in the campaign and renovations to the library will help the community.
“Overall, I think it’s going to give a warming sense of the community being stronger, it’s going to strengthen Saint Vincent as a whole,” Hoffman said.
According to Hoffman, this large renovation to the library will result in students wanting to use the facility more.
“It’s going to be built just like Dupré, and Dupré has had such a strong presence here on campus. I think they’re going for the same vibe Dupré did,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman said that the recent release of the James F. Will Wing in Dupré, which is the first renovation in the campaign, has had a positive student consensus already, even though its classrooms will not be used until next semester.
“I know a lot of people enjoy the back areas to study,” Hoffman said. “I’ve heard a lot of people are [saying] it’s a very high-demanding spot, it’s hard to get back there.”
Hoffman said that the experiences and values that will come out of the campaign is worth its target funding.
“I think the campaign will be very beneficial for the campus — and not just the campus, but the alumni that come back here all the time, the surrounding community,” Hoffman said. “Anybody who steps foot on campus will be able to see these renovations and say, ‘Wow, this is truly a hospitable atmosphere.’”
Even though many improvements in the campaign, Hoffman said, will not be implemented in time for all current students, these are still important for the future students of the campus.
“When I’m talking about the library, or Dupré, or Alfred… those are home now, I live on campus. You want to have the best, but you also want to make sure everybody else has the best at the same time,” Hoffman said.
Photos: Saint Vincent Archabbey Youtube; Matthew Wojtechko