Gift From Alumnus to Support Library Learning Commons

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A recent $7.5 million gift from alumnus John R. Post '60, and his wife, Maryanne, will dramatically reshape the academic hub of the Saint Joseph's University campus.

The gift is the centerpiece of what ultimately will be known as the John R. Post '60 Academic Center—which includes the construction of a new, three-story building, to be named the John and Maryanne Post Learning Commons, and the renovation of the existing Francis A. Drexel Library.

Drexel Library will be structurally joined to the Post Learning Commons—offering Saint Joseph's students a bright, welcoming and flexible space, responding to all learning styles and providing round-the-clock research and technology support as a true center for learning and discovery.

"I cannot express how grateful I am to John and Maryanne for this wonderful gift and how it will continue to impact our students," said Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., president of Saint Joseph's University. "We are all thankful for their ongoing leadership and unmatched commitment to Saint Joseph's. The Post family personifies what we mean by Magis, always striving to do more for the greater glory of God."

The 37,000-square-foot Learning Commons will include breakout rooms with large screens for students to work collaboratively on projects and presentations, instruction areas, expanded student seating, and special collections and archives, while the Crossroads Café—modeled after "lively" commercial coffee shops, will attract students looking beyond the traditional library setting. The estimated $21 million project is anticipated to break ground in 2013.

"I have always had the highest respect and affection for Saint Joseph's University," Post said. "It has prepared me well for both life and my career in industry. And I am confident this center will further the University's mission as a place of inquiry, a place of dialog, and a place of academic rigor and engagement—becoming the academic hub of a vibrant campus."

The John R. Post '60 Academic Center is one of six priorities outlined in With Faith and Strength to Dare: The Campaign for Saint Joseph's University—which has already raised more than $100 million toward its $150 million campaign goal.

Post, of Wyomissing, Pa., founder and president of Post Precision Castings, of Strausstown, Pa., one of America's leading providers of commercial investment castings, has been a long-time benefactor of his alma mater.

In 1999, the Posts made a gift of $6 million to Saint Joseph's—at the time the largest single alumni gift in University history—which transformed the former Villiger Hall into a state-of-the-art academic center. Now known as John R. Post Hall, this innovative facility today houses the departments of sociology, psychology, criminal justice, and health services, and it boasts many of the University's most advanced classrooms and research capabilities.

With this gift, Post becomes the largest single benefactor in the University's 159-year history.

"While the Drexel Library has served the needs of Saint Joseph's University students and faculty for more than 40 years, it can no longer keep pace with the learning culture of today's students—who are taught differently and who learn differently," said Fr. Lannon. "Our students are increasingly challenged to work in teams, solve complex problems, and see their fields of study connected in new and interesting ways.

"This facility will provide our students with an inviting, intellectual, technologically driven center where their needs for study, research, informality and interaction will be met in a dynamic setting," he added.

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