Saint Anselm College Cuts Ribbon On Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex

May 4, 2018

By Michelle Adams O'Regan

On May 4, the ribbon was officially cut on the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex, gaining the entire college community a dynamic new gathering, working, and learning place in the very center of campus.

“It was the students who told me time and again that we needed a new student center complex,” said President Steven R. DiSalvo. “One that would meet the needs of today’s students. A place where learning, socialization, and spirituality intersect. A place where students can find the support they need today while finding the friends that will last a lifetime. A place where faith meets hope and service meets Starbucks. And when I shared those thoughts with Roger and Francine, they immediately embraced the concept, began brainstorming about possibilities, and made the vision become a reality.”

College trustee Roger L. Jean '70, HD ’06 and his wife, Francine, made a $6 million commitment (the largest individual gift in the college’s history), which enabled the college to create the building which now bears their name. The Jeans attended the historic ribbon cutting event, at which they were lauded for their extraordinary generosity and dedication to Saint Anselm College. Read more about the Jeans.

“Francine and I believe there are actually very few places like Saint Anselm and we believe that these institutions are critical to the sound development of future generations,” said Roger Jean in his remarks at the ceremony. “In the world that we now live in, it is imperative that we support institutions that, in this age of ever increasing divisiveness, make it a central part of their mission to bring people together around core values and timeless moral principles. Places that still make faith the cornerstone of the community. Places that value not just tolerance of others, but active love and service to one another and the wider world. Like never before, our world needs places like this to flourish. I was transformed by this place a half century ago and Francine and I are proud to have our names permanently associated with Saint Anselm.”

Roger also offered words of wisdom to students, encouraging them to allow themselves to be transformed by their education, to achieve their own definitions of success, and to continue their relationship with the college community. Read Roger Jean’s full remarks to students.

Roger & Francine Jean Student Center Complex

After years of planning and breaking ground in October 2016, the new complex rose from the site of the Cushing Student Center, which was built in 1960. It is already a hub of campus, connecting to Stoutenburgh Gymnasium and with the multiple student services now based there, including the Center for Intercultural Learning and Inclusion, Meelia Center for Community Engagement, Campus Ministry, Career Development Center, International Programs, Class Deans’ Offices, Health Services, College Bookstore, and Mail Center. Spacious lounge areas, wide hallways, a 248-seat auditorium, a Starbucks café, a glass-walled second floor flexible function room, and abundant natural light provide an open and comfortable environment. Read more about the Student Center building.

The $16.8 million building is one of the cornerstone projects of the college’s Faith in the Future Capital Campaign, which is set to launch publicly in June 2018. It owes over $8 million to the generosity of the Jeans and other donors, and several spaces in the new building have already been named in honor of benefactors whose gifts were instrumental in its creation:

  • Now installed in a beautiful new space, The Meelia Center for Community Engagement recognizes Richard J. Meelia ’71, HD ’14 for his generosity and dedication to his alma mater, the students, and the greater community.
  • The Walter J. Gallo ’58, HD ’08 & Julie Gallo Café honors benefactors William “Bill” T. and Cynthia O’Connell’s lifelong friendship with Walter, as well as Walter’s exemplary service to the college through decades as its chief fundraiser and ambassador.
  • The Father Jonathan, O.S.B., Center for Intercultural Learning and Inclusion (formerly The Fr. Jonathan DeFelice O.S.B., ’69, HD ’15 Multicultural Center) was made possible by gifts from alumni, faculty, friends, and staff. In 2013, the Center was named for Father Jonathan, whose groundbreaking work for diversity and inclusion as president led to the cultural center’s founding; the updated name is reflective of the growing student body and the intercultural learning that takes place there, for all students encountering many different views and experiences.
  • The CGI Game Room is courtesy of a generous gift from Daniel F. Cronin, President, CGI Business Solutions.

An additional 30 spaces in the center have been named by alumni, friends, and trustees, who have elected to name an office, study area, or suite in recognition of their affection and admiration for Saint Anselm and their experiences with the college.

The Jeans hope that generations of future Anselmians will feel the same: “We want this Center to truly be a center on campus. We know that wonderful things are going to happen within these walls and that lifelong friendships are going to be formed here.” Current students say that the Center is well on its way already:

“I’m happy everything is together. What did I do before?!”
~ Kacey Phillips ’21, natural sciences and secondary education double major

“It’s just a great place for the entire student body to come and hang out …This is such a modern building now. The amount of work that everyone has really put into making this such a dynamic and fulfilling environment for everybody on campus, I think it’s amazing."
~ James Bloor ’19, mathematics major

“I absolutely love it. I feel like I've been living here since it opened. It's really exciting to have student-centered spaces available for CAB (Campus Activities Board) programming. We're looking forward to bringing everyone's favorite student events back to the Student Center in the fall.”
~ Abigail Reynolds '19, marketing major

“As a graduating senior, I wish the class of 2018 had more time to experience the new building and make it our home!”
~ Matthew Sargent '18, communication major

“The completion of this project is already transforming how our students, faculty, and staff come together,” said Dr. DiSalvo. “We could not have asked for a more beautiful, and functional hub at the heart of our campus to integrate all aspects of Anselmian life.”

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