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University Hosts Grand Opening Celebration for Mac Mahon Student Center

After years of anticipation, the grand opening celebration of the Mac Mahon Student Center was held for students, faculty and staff on March 20.

“Today, we have reached a new milestone in the history of Saint Peter’s University,” said University President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D. “Just 17 months ago – on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 – we stood here and broke ground for the construction of the University’s first-ever student center. Today, our dream has become a reality and we stand just steps away from the Mac Mahon Student Center.”

He added, “This facility – designed in large part by our students – is for our students. It will enable both residential and commuter students alike to learn, lead and serve in a state-of-the-art space. I hope a lot of studying will take place in here. But I also know that an awful lot of spiritual reflection, memorable events, and community building will take place within these walls, too. Life-long friendships are going to be made inside this building.”

Dr. Cornacchia and members of the Saint Peter’s community kicked-off the festivities in Panepinto Plaza, located on the Glenwood Avenue entrance of the student center. Director of Campus Ministry Rev. Rocco Danzi, S.J., delivered an opening prayer and blessed the building.

“This is a surreal moment for me – the actual opening of the student center,” said Scott Miller ’13, president of the Student Government Association, as he addressed the crowd in Panepinto Plaza. “It seems like just yesterday it was a parking lot, where I parked with my mother to take my very first tour of Saint Peter’s as a high school student. We’ve watched this building rise from a hole in the ground to a magnificent six-story structure.”

Following the program, visitors participated in “Meet Me at the Center,” which included a DJ, free Rita’s Water Ice, a temporary tattoo artist and more. Walking tours of the building, featuring treats and giveaways on every floor, were also provided.

The student center spans the east side of the Jersey City campus, from Glenwood Avenue to Montgomery Street. The signature building will not only transform the physical campus and help to attract high caliber students, but it will also serve as a dynamic hub of activity for the University community with a new home for dining, fitness, learning and socializing.

And while the student center opened just three days ago, chemistry major Daniel Valentin ’16 is already utilizing the space for all it has to offer. “It’s kind of overwhelming,” he said. “There are a lot of things to do now. It’s a good place to get away when you don’t have anything school-related to do and it’s a great atmosphere to be with your friends. It makes me feel like getting my school work done faster so I have more time to have fun in the student center, like a reward.”

His friend, biology major Mallory Feliciano ’16, agreed. “I think it complements the school well,” she said. “I’m excited to use the gym. It’s brand new and there’s a nice view I can look at when I work out.”

The design for the center was developed based on the input of students. Highlights of the space include cozy living room areas, a coffee shop, a University store, spacious dining areas, fitness and game rooms, office space and more. The center will also serve the local community through The Duncan Family Sky Room, an event facility available for rent, which offers panoramic views and seating for up to 430 people.

An official dedication of the new building will be held near the fountain in Panepinto Plaza on Friday, April 12, at 5:45 p.m., prior to Hearts & Minds: The Saint Peter’s University Scholarship Dinner. For more information, visit www.alumni.saintpeters.edu/event/hm2013.