Construction expected to begin this fall on new alumni house


Image: Alumni House sketchThe University will begin construction of a new Alumni House near the North Benson Road main entrance this fall. Completion of the project is expected next spring. Southwell Hall, which is the current location for the Office of Alumni Relations, will continue to be used as office space.

"The new Alumni House, and the additional space that it will contain, will provide the Alumni Association membership and staff with an opportunity to develop new programs for activities that will enhance communication between current students and alumni," said Janet Canepa '82, director of alumni relations. "It will also provide space for faculty to meet with students and alumni in the development of new alumni activities. All of these activities will have significant benefits to the University, its alumni and current students."

The new Alumni House will be one-and-a-half stories high and will contain 6,900 square feet of useable space. It will be located approximately 300 feet from North Benson Road in the vicinity of McAuliffe Hall. The new structure will contain offices for the current director, associate director, assistant director, two operations assistants and student work study staff. A 1,700-square-foot room, which will encompass the entire first floor and divide into two smaller rooms, will accommodate 160 people for dinner and 300 for receptions and other campus events. In addition, there will be a porch on the northern side of the building and a terrace on the southern side with views of Long Island Sound.

The building's exterior will include a slate roof and shingles consistent with the French Chateau architectural style of McAuliffe Hall, which was built in 1896. McAuliffe is located on one of the two estates acquired by the Jesuits in 1942 to create the Fairfield University campus. The hall, renamed for Maurice Francis McAuliffe, former Bishop of Hartford, contains administrative and academic offices, as well as classrooms and laboratories.

The construction of the new facility is made possible through the generous support of the Alumni Association in partnership with the University. "The construction of this building is evidence of the bond that exists between the Alumni Association and Fairfield University," said the Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., University President. "This new home provides the Alumni Association with modern and spacious offices so it can better serve alumni."

The building was designed and its construction will be managed by the University's Office of Campus Planning and Design.

Laura Incerto '81, president of the Alumni Association, added: "The new Alumni House allows us to give something back to our school by providing it with a facility that it so badly needs."

When Robert Brennan '65, a past president of the Alumni Association and one of the original backers of a plan for a new facility, speaks of the new Alumni House he can't hide his enthusiasm. He describes its imminent construction personally as a "dream fulfilled," a source of "pride," and "heartwarming."

He said the new Alumni House is the culmination of years of planning and collaboration between Fr. Kelley and the Alumni Association, which has put aside money in its annual budget over the years to fund the project. The association was located in the basement of Loyola Hall when Fr. Kelley arrived in 1979.

"As a result of Fr. Kelley's leadership, it was determined that the Alumni Association was in need of a home of its own," said Brennan. "As graduates of Fairfield University, we owe a very large debt of gratitude to Fr. Kelley for his leadership in having taken us to the penthouse."

Since 1984, Southwell Hall, named after St. Robert Southwell, a Jesuit martyr in Elizabethan England, has served as the Alumni Relations office and hospitality center for alumni. Prior to that, it was a Jesuit residence, and the Campus Ministry House. One of its walls is of 1776 vintage, and it is said to have been part of an inn during the Revolutionary War.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 1, 1998