SLU Salutes Donors & Dedicates Stunning New Student Complex

February 12, 2008

February 12, 2008

Over the past weekend, 175 university trustees, donors, and guests helped dedicate SLU’s new Student Community Center complex, the most ambitious construction project at the university’s main campus in a generation.

The majority of the work on the $21 million, Spanish Mission-style complex was completed in late October. It was funded largely through the success of the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, which set out to raise $15 million for the complex and other needs. Donors topped that goal and pledged $19.7 million to SLU, a cause for celebration.

"These facilities will be the living room, family room, home office, and dining room for our students," President Arthur F. Kirk Jr. told the trustees and guests who gathered for the dedication of the new Student Community Center complex on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Tom Dempsey, president of Saddlebrook Resorts, and distinguished former member of the Saint Leo University Board of Trustees, delivered the keynote speech Saturday after guests had a chance to tour the new buildings. 

The complex is comprised of two buildings sharing a common courtyard, and is located right at the heart of University’s main campus. The dramatic architecture redefines the landscape without detracting from the charm of the surrounding buildings.

The larger of the two new structures in the complex, the actual Student Community Center, replaces the former McDonald Center building. The SCC houses the university’s popular dining hall, a convenience store, a comfortable lounge, and the combination conference room and special-events dining area where Saturday’s dinner was held. The names of donors to the project are honored with a plaque in the lounge.

The SCC’s north face and adjoining patio directly overlook Lake Jovita. Its southern view flows across the courtyard to the Student Activities Building, which was created to supply more office and meeting space for student organizations. The Student Activities Building also houses the university tutoring center and University Ministry. The Saint Jude Chapel, a quiet sanctuary open to people of all faiths, anchors the west end of the building.

University officials also praised donors for helping to fill other essential needs through their donations to the comprehensive campaign. Contributions bolstered financial aid to students, paid for the renovation of older classrooms, and helped meet ongoing expenses as Saint Leo builds its reputation as one of the nation’s largest and most innovative Catholic universities. 

Contact: David Ostrander, vice president for University Advancement, at or (352) 588-8250