Roberts Wesleyan College recently received a $7.5 million gift from Paychex founder Tom Golisano to build a new community center.
The 25,000 square foot, two-story center will serve as a hub for connection, community interaction and student life resources, and a workplace for Roberts’ custom training and education programs.
“We are so grateful to Tom Golisano for the overwhelming demonstration of support for the work we do,” President Deana Porterfield said. “This gift not only opens the way for us to move forward with the plan for the construction of a unique campus building, but is also an encouraging endorsement of our mission to serve the educational needs of the Greater Rochester community and the students of Roberts Wesleyan College.”
The center will be named the Golisano Community Engagement Center. Groundbreaking for the $13.5 million building is slated for fall 2020 and construction is expected to take 14 months, with the grand opening set for fall 2021. The new center will be located on campus, north of Westside Drive.
This gift and Golisano’s $5 million donation in 2001 for the B. Thomas Golisano Library are the largest financial gifts in Roberts Wesleyan’s 153-year history.
The Golisano Community Engagement Center will house training programs, including the college’s Community Institutes, and provide access to career development and student-life resources. It will be the first building on campus to provide centralized meeting space and community interaction opportunities for all students.
Roberts Wesleyan’s Community Institutes, which provide educational solutions and resources to Rochester businesses and organizations, offer certificate and training programs separate from the degree-based education the college already offers. The four institutes are: Business Solutions, Justice and Security, English Language, and Intellectual and Spiritual Humility.
Other services and offices featured in the new center include the Career Center, Diversity & Equality, Spiritual Formation and International Engagement.
“I am pleased to provide a gift of $7.5 million to establish the new Community Engagement Center at Roberts Wesleyan College,” Golisano said. “The four institutes that will be housed within the center will provide much-needed training and education to businesses, corporate and community partners, and students. Our region boasts several wonderful institutions of higher education, but few are located on the west side. The Community Engagement Center will create an opportunity for Roberts to expand its reach by sharing its professional and educational expertise with the broader community.”
The Golisano Community Engagement Center is a component of the college’s five-year strategic plan, established in 2016, that focuses on three aspects: engaged campus culture, innovative growth and transformational partnerships. Strategies include new programs, buildings, initiatives and hires.
“The envisioning of the Golisano Community Engagement Center has brought our community together over the past three years,” said Darrell Bell, vice president for institutional advancement. “Our alumni and partners have faithfully supported our work for previous initiatives, such as the Legacy 150 Comprehensive Campaign, which was successfully completed in 2015. Now, more than ever, we will rely on their participation for this new project. We are so excited to see this dream become a reality for the Roberts family and Greater Rochester community.”
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