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Roberts Wesleyan College Breaks Ground on $15 Million
Golisano Community Engagement Center to “Connect the Community”

Breaking ground on new Golisano Community Engagement Center

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ROCHESTER, N.Y.Roberts Wesleyan College and community leaders used branded shovels today as they broke ground on the Golisano Community Engagement Center. “Let’s break ground to connect the community!” President Deana L. Porterfield exclaimed as shovels went into the ground where the 25,000-square-foot, two-story center will be housed on the north side of the Roberts campus. Construction will kick off immediately and is expected to take 14 months. The official grand opening for the Golisano Community Engagement Center is anticipated to happen in summer 2022 for the start of the 2022-23 academic year.

“It is tremendously exciting to mark this important moment in our community,” President Deana L. Porterfield said. “The Golisano Community Engagement Center has been greatly needed and anticipated for years, so to begin construction on our campus is the realization of a dream come true. I am so thankful for the generosity of Tom Golisano, our alumni, donors and friends, so eager to watch this beautiful facility being built, and so very grateful to God for the blessing it will be in the lives of our students, faculty, staff and those we serve in the Greater Rochester community.”

Once complete, the Golisano Community Engagement Center will serve as a hub for connection, collaboration and student life resources, serving as the first building on campus to provide centralized meeting spaces and community interaction opportunities for all students.

The state-of-the-art building designed by SWBR will also function as a workplace for Roberts’ growing custom training and education programs, such as its Community Institutes, which provide custom educational solutions and resources to Rochester-area businesses and organizations seeking affordable, real-world learning experiences and insight. It will serve as the college’s new north campus entrance.

The first phase of the Connect the Community campaign was initiated in August 2019 with a $7.5 million gift from Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano to build the innovative new Community Engagement Center. The gift is the largest in Roberts Wesleyan’s 155-year history. The remaining capital is being funded by major donors and partners. The college hosted several events with donors, friends of the college, alumni and community leaders over the past two years as part of the college’s Connect the Community campaign. To date, $11,252,388 million of the $15 million goal has been raised for the center and fundraising will continue until completion.

Given the pandemic, the event was livestreamed for those who were unable to attend in person. Details will become available as construction progress is made and a formal invitation will follow in 2022 for the grand opening ceremony for the Golisano Community Engagement Center.

ADDITIONAL QUOTES FROM COMMUNITY LEADERS INVOLVED IN THIS CAPITAL PROJECT

“Each generation of Roberts Wesleyan College students has wished and hoped for a true student union where they could meet and interact with the campus community. This is a dream come true for many alumni. I know many alumni who enjoyed the R-Room, BT's Cafe and other areas around campus will enjoy seeing this state-of-the-art facility in person at homecoming 2022.” 
— Kirk Kettinger, Director of Alumni and External Relations at Roberts Wesleyan College

“This Community Engagement Center will be a resource for the Rochester business community for valuable training that is built on the trusted quality of Roberts Wesleyan College instruction and its mission of education for character. As a local business owner, I want that for our company.”
— Kip Palmer, Chair of Board of Trustees at Roberts Wesleyan College

“It’s always been thought that college students are among the best at using technology and adapting to change, but if anything, the past year has taught us the value and importance of genuine, face-to-face connection. This building will not only provide students the opportunity to connect with community members, but it will also give students even better opportunities to connect with one another.”
— Student Body President Caleigh Hitchcock at Roberts Wesleyan College

“The vision for the Community Institutes at Roberts Wesleyan College is to serve both internal and external constituents, and we share in the excitement of seeing this building progress in the months ahead. The Golisano Community Engagement Center will house the Community Institutes and provide the collaborative space for training and consulting that will create opportunities to bring the broader community together and facilitate engagement between students and community leaders.” 
— Steve Bovee, Executive Director of Community Engagement at Roberts Wesleyan College

“This is an exciting day for Roberts Wesleyan College, it’s students, staff and alumni as we break ground on the Golisano Community Engagement Center. Once completed, this state-of-the-art facility will greatly enhance the learning experience for Roberts’ students and will help attract future generations of recent high school graduates to the campus. This facility is truly one-of-a-kind. Thank you to Tom Golisano for his generosity and thank you to Roberts Wesleyan College and President Deana Porterfield for their continued commitment to the betterment of our community.”
—  Monroe County Executive Adam Bello


Related News & Resources

In the News - Groundbreaking May 18, 2021

Roberts Wesleyan breaks ground on new community engagement center - 13WHAM May 18, 2021

Groundbreaking for $15 million Golisano Community Engagement Center - Democrat and Chronicle - May 18, 2021

Announcement Aug 29, 2019

Tom Golisano Makes $7.5 Million Gift to Roberts Wesleyan College to Build Innovative New Center – Gift is Largest in College’s History

Gift Announcement Press Release and Press Conference Video

Gift Announcement Press Conference Photo Gallery

In the News - Announcement August 29, 2019

Golisano gifts $7.5 million to Robert Wesleyan College for SWBR-designed project - NYS Real Estate Journal - Sep 17, 2019

Golisano donates $7.5 million to Roberts Wesleyan College - WXXI - Aug 29, 2019

Golisano bests previous record gift to Roberts Wesleyan with $7.5M donation for new center - Democrat and Chronicle - Aug 29, 2019

Golisano gift stakes multipurpose Roberts Wesleyan center - Rochester Business Journal - Aug 29, 2019

Roberts Wesleyan Receives Largest Gift in History from Tom Golisano - 13 WHAM News - Aug 29, 2019

Roberts Wesleyan to Build New Center - Spectrum News Rochester - Aug 29, 2019


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