Early gifts are pouring in to help fund the complete renovation of their Seton Hall University’s University Center – the hub of campus activity.
Alumni and supporters are generously donating funds to help the university achieve its vision of enhancing the student experience.
Built in 1962, the University Center houses the main dining facilities, theatre and student-focused club rooms and offices. The building is undergoing major renovations designed to expand it into an architecturally stunning structure equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for the 21st-century student.
“The renovations will pay dividends in the life of the University and the lives of our students for generations to come,” University President Joseph Nyre stated.
The most visited building on campus, the University Center is where students go to dine and unwind, collaborate on projects, meet with affinity clubs, interact with faculty and industry leaders, study in groups or quietly reflect.
Alumna Helen Rados Lerner ’76 of Highland Beach, FL, made an early gift of $1 million designated for the transformation of the Galleon Room—the main dining hall. It was the first portion of the project to be completed, increasing the room’s overall seating capacity to more than 1,000 to accommodate the growing numbers of students at Seton Hall.
“I have fond memories of this building during my student years,” said Lerner. “It was the meeting place between classes, a place to grab a soda and a snack, the place that brought us all together, both commuter students and those who lived on campus. I hope it is an important place for all students to feel welcome and valued. I am proud to contribute to the renovation of this building, the heart of the campus.”
With over 48,000 square feet of renovations and additions, the University Center will feature greater accessibility with more open space, more elevators and an additional entryway. Walls will be removed or replaced with glass, giving the building a more inclusive feel and more natural light. Rooms have been designed to accommodate communal activities, like performances in the outdoor amphitheater, movie night on a large screen or caroling around the outdoor firepit.
The University Center is also designed to facilitate extracurricular learning, with a new broadcast studio, a large event space accommodating up to 500 guests, club rooms and smaller gathering spaces that will enable students to collaborate in a dedicated space.
Enhancements to dining services include Jersey Mike’s Subs, a “G8” station with allergy-friendly options, Starbucks to fuel late-night study and al fresco dining off the Pirates Cove, which will now open onto a patio overlooking the campus green.
Committed to the whole student, the University Center is designed to facilitate overall wellbeing, with many options for retreating and decompressing: table games and digital gaming, a prayer and meditation room, space for affinity groups to meet, a cozy fireplace lounge with a coffee bar and a community garden with a ceramic artwork dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Reinforcing Seton Hall’s Catholic identity, atop the University Center’s soaring 65-foot tower will be a cross donated by Hank D’Alessandro, a member of the Seton Hall University Board of Regents.
The full-scale renovations and additions to the as-yet-unnamed University Center are expected to cost in excess of $40 million.
“We have more work to do, and we need the support of the entire Seton Hall community,” said Jon Paparsenos ’99, vice president of University Advancement. “The newly renovated building will be the centerpiece of campus, serving our students for generations to come. We are happy to speak with alumni, friends and fans who want to invest in this vital resource and show their support for the students of Seton Hall.”