The night before Friday, May 4, 2018, the weather forecast predicted heavy rains and thunderstorms. However, as Roger Jean said in his address to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and benefactors, a healthy amount of Benedictine prayer kept the rain away as the Saint Anselm College community formally dedicated the new Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex.
Just moments before the dedication and ribbon cutting was set to begin, the fire alarm went off in the new Jean Complex. The false alarm gave the building the chance to showcase its innovative safety features, like fireproof curtains. “It was the coolest thing. I feel so safe here,” said Laura Reyes-Irizarry, the administrative assistant in the Campus Ministry office. Some speculated that burnt popcorn caused the false alarm. As the Goffstown Fire Department arrived on the scene, the event got underway.
President of the Board of Trustees Joanne Pietrini Smith welcomed the entire community to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, saying she was “emotional” as she arrived on campus and looked upon the new Jean Complex. Pietrini Smith said the new complex would do a lot to “strengthen the Anselmian living learning community.”
While students have been in the Jean Complex for weeks already, the formal dedication was an opportunity for benefactors to see the fruits of their donation. More than $8 million was donated to make the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex possible. Pietrini Smith was quick to express her thanks to the Jeans and others who contributed to the new complex.
She was not misguided in expressing the thanks of students. In his remarks to the crowd, SGA President Joshua Hughes ‘20 articulated the student body’s excitement for the Gallo Café and the Pfeffer Lounge among the building’s other features. He also emphasized the importance of bringing various campus offices into the same physical space. “It is great to have these new amenities centralized together with our old favorites like the Meelia Center, Campus Ministry, the Father Jonathan Intercultural Center, and the Career Development Center,” Hughes said.
Jenna Baker ‘18 agreed with Hughes’ sentiment. “I am so excited for the future generations of Anselmians who will be able to experience the collaboration between different offices because I think that there is so much value in connecting programs that have to do with faith, community, academics, and student involvement,” she said.
Near the beginning of his remarks, Roger Jean turned to student services employees and students. “Welcome to your new home,” he said.
Jean, the former Executive Vice President of Liberty Mutual, and his wife, Francine, were the donors chiefly responsible for the new complex. In his remarks, Jean said the new complex was a “long needed addition to the college,” but emphasized the need for further campus developments and improvements to help Saint Anselm fulfill its mission.
In his remarks, Jean called Saint Anselm College “critical to the sound development of future generations.” “In the world that we now live in,” he continued, “it is imperative that we support institutions that, in this age of ever-increasing divisiveness, make it a central part of their mission to bring people together around core values and timeless moral principles.”
Before concluding his remarks with a call for current students and alumni to give back to the college, Jean made clear his preference for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee over the Gallo Café’s Starbucks coffee to the amusement and agreement of the crowd. Qualms about the coffee selection aside, students, faculty, and guests enjoyed the Gallo Café and the Jean Complex’s other offices and amenities for the remainder of the day.
Photos taken from Saint Anselm College.