My two fabulous New Jersey Sacred Heart University reps, Erin Bulvanoski and Ashleigh O’Rourke, encouraged me to re-visit campus which I had not done so in about 4 years. So on December 8th, following Erin’s excellent directions, being a Jersey Shore native (the good kind), I ventured across the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Merritt Parkway directly to campus. New to me and absolutely breathtaking is the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, dedicated on September 27th, 2009. The Chapel provides a setting “conducive to worship and reflection, as well as a lively, warm space for community celebration.” Mass is celebrated on Sunday and during the week but the sanctuary is designed to welcome people and students of all faiths. The world-renowned Fr. Marko Rupnik and 15 artists designed and assembled the amazing mosaics made of stones and tiles called “tesserae,” some of which Erin and Ashleigh told me come right from Fairfield, Connecticut to connect the local community to the Chapel. The Chapel of the Holy Spirit is in the center of campus and is a real focal point for the University. The mosaics must be seen to be appreciated. They are hard for me even to describe to you. The Chapel was designed by Sasaki Associates who recently won 1st prize in the international design competition in the 2008 Olympic Games at Beijing, and have also designed major projects at Harvard, Boston College, Johns Hopkins, MIT and Trinity College in Hartford.
The next project at Sacred Heart University for which ground was broken on May 6, 2010 is the new Student Commons Building. It will be completed in early 2012 and will be a 46,00 square foot building linking the upper and lower campus and housing a bookstore, lounges, IT support and student meeting and presentation spaces. It promises to be a very imposing structure, and all are waiting patiently for it to open.
Interesting fact that I learned from Ashleigh – I saw a municipal golf course next door to campus, and she told me that all students at the Jack Welch School of Business must take a course in golf there as golf is so important in the world of business! I love that! And so true!
Last but not least, I met with Jill Angotta, Director of Special Services in the Jandrisevits Learning Center. She runs Academic Support Services and what a job she does for the students at Sacred Heart University who have learning differences and other disabilities. I was most impressed! She has been there 11 years and her staff of 7 specialists really help students to be successful. With the proper documentation, students receive extra time on tests, disclosure letters, course substitution when appropriate, books on tape, interpreting, alternative forms of testing and Classroom Learning Assistants. For a fee, students who require more support can receive l.d. trained specialists, content area tutors, scribes, technical services and academic coaches. Most important of all, Jill is really in tune with the learning needs of university students and truly understands.
For a variety of reasons, I am so glad that I was able to get back to Sacred Heart University and update my look at the school, not the least of which was being able to finally meet Jill Angotta, who is a real treasure!