“Merrimack College is not only an institution of higher learning,” said President Christopher E. Hopey in a ceremony preceding the groundbreaking. “Merrimack College is a promise — a promise made and a promise fulfilled.”
“This new academic building says to our family and the world that we have built success upon success. It is fulfilling the promise of ‘we will be’ with ‘we are,’” he said.
Hopey was joined in the ceremony by Michael Crowe, chair of the board of trustees, who recalled being an undergraduate when the college’s last new academic building, Mendel Center, was opened. He said he was proud of Merrimack as an alumnus, a trustee and the father of a graduating senior, and said it is a “moment the trustees and administration have been working toward for a long time,” after years of strategic planning.
The 50,000-square-foot building will be home to the Girard School of Business as well as 14 general-purpose flexible learning environments, the Mucci Capital Markets Lab, the Comprehensive Business Advising Center and the Financial Capabilities Center. Construction will begin soon; the building is expected to open in August 2017.
Girard Dean Mark Cordano said the school has had great success drawing corporate partners and alumni back to work with students and help them find career success.
“This new building will enhance the connections across our entire community,” he said. “It will place our students within an integrated community that will find new ways to collaborate, learn and grow.”
Sara Jane Brazda, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, shared a message from Frank Girard, for whom the business school is named, sharing his honor and excitement to see the school expand and evolve.
The president was joined in the first ceremonial groundbreaking by his wife, Cheryl Lucas; the Rev. Raymond Dlugos, O.S.A., vice president for mission and student affairs; Brazda; Cordano; and trustees Crowe, Alfred Arcidi and Marybeth McInnis.
Local government officials and members of the Student Government Association also paused for ceremonial groundbreaking photos.
The ceremony was followed by a block party inside the Multipurpose Room of the Sakowich Campus Center, featuring food, games, music and a beer garden for those over 21. Fireworks were launched over the athletics fields to conclude the festivities.