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Thursday, September 12, 2013

St. Bonaventure University Dedicates,
Blesses New Swan Business Center

By Tom Missel
Director of Media Relations/Marketing

St. Bonaventure University formally dedicated a new academic building for the second time in five years Thursday, blessing the William E. and Ann L. Swan Business Center.

The state-of-the-art home to the university’s acclaimed School of Business officially opened Aug. 25 with an open house for students on the eve of the academic year. But university officials waited until Thursday to honor donors, designers, builders and faculty.

“This afternoon, we celebrate an extraordinary addition to our landscape, one that promises to lead the campus in a transformation of our teaching and learning paradigm,” said Mari Snyder, ’90, co-chair of the School of Business Advisory Council. “At the same time, it signals what we have known for some time — that St. Bonaventure’s School of Business is world-class, and it now has a facility befitting that distinction.”

Snyder is vice president of Social Responsibility and Community Engagement at Marriott International, Inc.

Leading the 30-minute dedication ceremony into the blessing of the building was Ann Swan, who donated $3 million to the building campaign in honor of her late husband, William E. Swan, ’69, a longtime Western New York business leader and philanthropist, and a dedicated university alumnus and Board of Trustees chair.

“We stand in front of the physical realization of her dream — a dream that reflects an ideal Bonaventure man and a woman of iron will and generous heart — and more than 1,000 other believers in this dream,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., university president.

When Swan first told the president of her “heartfelt desire to create an expression of her late husband’s life-long devotion to St. Bonaventure,” Sr. Margaret said the university’s first proposals to fulfill that dream didn’t impress Swan.

“She challenged us — administration and trustees — to bring her an inspirational goal,” Sr. Margaret said. “Her determination gave us the courage to dream, and here we are.”

The 26,000-square-foot Swan Center features a financial services lab with electronic ticker tape, a corporate boardroom, state-of-the-art classrooms, spaces for student collaboration, team building, and faculty research, a dean’s suite, innovative technology uses, and a serious commitment to sustainability.

“The Swan Center is the quintessential game-changer for our School of Business and other programs at St. Bonaventure,” said Dr. Pierre Balthazard, dean of the School of Business. “Perhaps most exciting about this new facility is how it invites students to work in teams and small groups; to make the building their home before, during and after class. This will be a 24/7/365 facility.”

Robert Daugherty, ’77, chair of the School of Business Campaign, said the new facility will have countless benefits for students.

“Not only will they get a job, they will be the leaders who create jobs. That’s what we’ve done here. We’ve created a learning environment that will position our students to lead in an increasingly complex and challenging world,” said Daugherty, a retired partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

A unique feature of the building is seven words on the tile wall leading up the terrazzo staircase from the atrium: Contemplation, Love, Respect, Joy, Peace, Compassionate Service.

“These words … had deep meaning for Bill, as he learned of their important role in his life during his time as a student at St. Bonaventure,” Swan said of her husband, who carried these words on a card in his breast pocket every day.

“I present these values to you, most especially to the students and faculty of St. Bonaventure University, as I aim for them to bring you peace and joy as you study here, surrounded by our rich Franciscan experience,” Swan said.

Fr. John O’Connor, O.F.M., provincial minister of Holy Name Province; Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., ’70, vice president for the Franciscan Mission; and Fr. Francis Di Spigno, O.F.M., executive director of University Ministries, and several university friars blessed the building with prayer and incense at the end of the ceremony.

Students and faculty conducted tours of the Swan Center after the ceremony.

The university opened the William F. Walsh Science Center in 2008.

Pictured, Fr. Francis Di Spigno, O.F.M., spoons liquid incense on to burning coals inside dishes held by fellow friars at St. Bonaventure during the blessing portion of Thursday's dedication ceremony outside the Swan Center.
St. Bonaventure photo

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