On October 19, 2017, many Dominican University faculty, staff, board members, Holt construction and many donors gathered together for the Hennessy Extension Dedication. Everyone was waiting for Sister Mary Eileen’s speech to get the event started. I looked around the room and saw how familiar everyone was with each other. Sister Mary Eileen speech shared some history with the group that was gathered. In 1983, the College decided to take its first step in starting the residential life program. Prior to that for 13 years, they leased the old Masonic Lodge in Tappan, NY. Eventually, the College built Hertel Hall and the first floor of the Granito Center. In 2005, they opened Rosary Hall for additional residents and then in 2007 Guzman Hall for more residents. Now 650 students can be housed on Campus. The next speaker as part of the celebration was Senator Carlucci who shared some enlightening information. He read in a study by the University of Michigan that students that are enrolled in a school fitness center have higher GPAs on average than those who don’t. We moved on with a tour of the new and improved Hennessy Center led by John Burke, VP. He started off the tour by showing us the new scoreboard in memory of Regina Rivera. Then moving on to the new Athletic Training program room and conference room. We walked around to the lower level for the new fitness center. Before the cutting the ribbon, Sister Barbara led a prayer. Cutting the first ribbon were many people like Sister Mary Eileen, Sister Kathleen, Senator Carlucci, Michael Dempsey, Sal Pennino and more. When the blessing and ribbon cutting were completed, we finally got to see the new fitness center. It is amazing how much they improved it. From so many new cardio machines, to new weight room, and a new room where fitness classes can be held. Classes like Zumba, Boot Camp, Soul Cycle and more. The tour continued to the second ribbon cutting of the night for the new gym. The gym is spacious and has a team room for every sports team on campus. Sister Kathleen gave out certificates and awards to the largest donors as well as those who participated in the construction. The night concluded with refreshments, food and wine. The Hennessy Expansion was a much needed campus addition and getting to go to the dedication showed me how much thought went into the project.
Along with going to the Hennessy Extension Dedication, I got to interview Michael Dempsey, Facilities Director. Michael Dempsey has been Dominican University’s Facilities Director for 12 years. He was one of the many people involved in expanding Hennessy. He went to meetings to help create the plan, going to town meetings and getting approvals from many boards. The Hennessy Extension was first discussed many years ago. Two years went into planning the expansion and one year for the construction. The Hennessy Extension cost over 5 million dollars. I asked Mr. Dempsey what was his favorite part about the expansion. He said his favorite part is that it’s accessible. It gives a chance to non-athlete students to use the fitness center and play intramurals in the new gym. They got to add everything they planned to add, nothing was left out. Instead, they were able to add things they hadn’t originally planned to add. They added windows to the gym and fitness center to bring in more light. The expansion was wanted by not only faculty, but students as well. Surveys were given out to students for what was lacking and what needed to be improved on campus. The College is always discussing what new project they will take on to improve and benefit everyone on campus.