demonstrate a preference for collaborative learning, a work model
that is often reflected in the project-team approach popular in
today’s business world. Last year, we responded to this shift in
learning styles by introducing 18 freshman learning communities.
Organized around either academic majors or themes such as
leadership, social justice, health, wellness and the environment,
these communities offer communal study experiences and enhanced
interaction with faculty. It is our belief that these communities
will result in more in-depth understanding of subject matter and
stronger communication among students and faculty.
We also took steps last year to create a physical environment that
encourages students to become more involved with their studies,
their fellow students and the greater community. Construction
of the $77 million University Center/Academic Center, the largest
singlebuilding investment in St. John’s history, moved forward last
year. With an anticipated September 2009 opening date, the Center
will contain 14 classrooms, recreational facilities and landscaped
areas that will add both aesthetic appeal and social gathering
venues to the campus.
The $14 million renovation of the St.
Augustine Hall Library began last year to accommodate the
increasing need for information sharing. The third and fourth
floors were redesigned to shift emphasis from individual research
facilities to space allocation for collaborative gathering of data.
Technology has revolutionized libraries, and our students will have
access to sophisticated tools that will prepare them for tomorrow’s
Improvements continued in our facilities abroad last year. We
opened a new location on Paris’s Left Bank to accommodate the
University’s growing study abroad population. Equipped with 100
Creating an Environment for Optimal Learning beds, state-of-the-art
classrooms, a library and student meeting rooms, the new site gives
students proximity to the city’s incomparable cultural and historic
In Rome, we relocated our residence facility to Collegio Leoniano,
which is able to accommodate up to 230 students with wireless
access and a student computer lab. Information technology skills
are necessary in today’s global business world, and these new
facilities will ensure that St. John’s students have access to the
most up-todate technology.
Finally, students continue to seek more oncampus residential
experiences, and the opening this year of a complex of three-story
townhouses at the edge of the Great Lawn will help satisfy demand.
The buildings have landscaped courtyards and apartment-style
accommodations that will give juniors and seniors a more
independent living experience.
"You have given me a chance to be a voice for the voiceless."
—Human Rights Activitist and former Sudanese slave Simon Aban Deng,
speaking at the biennial Poverty Conference sponsored by the
Vincentian Chair of Social Justice at St. John’s