ALLEGANY, N.Y. — Three Holy Name Province members were among the group participating in the dedication of St. Bonaventure University’s (SBU) William Walsh Center last month.
Among the donors, administrators, faculty, students and politicians at the festive event were Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, a university trustee; Daniel Riley, OFM, director of Mt. Irenaeus; and Peter Schneible, OFM, a biology professor at the university.
SBU dedicated the $14.6 million William F. Walsh Science Center recently, capping a period of dramatic physical transformation at the 150-year-old university.
Donors, administrators, faculty, students and politicians — including U.S. Rep. James T. Walsh (R-Syracuse), who helped secure federal NASA funding for the project — were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The building is named for Rep. Walsh’s father, William, a 1934 SBU alumnus, the mayor of Syracuse in the 1960s, and a three-term congressman in the 1970s. Now 96, William Walsh was “bitterly disappointed” that he was unable to attend, but health concerns prevented him from doing so, his son said.
Construction of the 46,500-square-foot science center and the renovation of the adjacent De La Roche Hall mark one of the most ambitious projects in university history. The Walsh Center houses state-of-the-art computer science, laboratory and classroom space, biology labs, organic and general chemistry labs, a Natural World lab, a 150-seat indoor amphitheater, and faculty offices integrated with lab space for better student-teacher accessibility.
“The Walsh Center and the renovated De La Roche Hall will make us better able to compete for high-quality students and faculty who want to be a part of a unique and distinctive scholarly environment,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, OS., STD, SBU president. “This project testifies that this university continues to thrive because we have wonderful partners in our alumni, our friends and our legislators. They all believe in the university’s commitment to enable students to become extraordinary.”
The renovation to De La Roche, the oldest academic building on campus, brings that facility into the modern era and creates a seamless connection between new and old. The project makes use of green technologies, including the use of ground water to cool both buildings.
“One of the happiest moments of this project was seeing the contractors, who did remarkable work all along the way, walking out the back door of Walsh, and students this week coming in the front door,” said Phil Winger, associate vice president for facilities.
The completion of the Walsh Center comes on the heels of Café La Verna, the new coffeehouse and deli that opened in 2007; major dining and residence hall upgrades, completed in 2006; and the Sandra A. and William L. Richter Center, a state-of-the-art recreation center that opened in 2004.
The Friedsam Memorial Library Rare Books Wing also opened this fall.