FORT WAYNE — The renovated portion of Achatz Hall of Science and John and Toni Murray Research Center was blessed and dedicated in a grand opening ceremony Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the University of Saint Francis.
The Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, went from room to room in the renovated building, offering blessings.
“The Achatz Hall of Science and John and Toni Murray Research Center will be a focal point of both academic pursuits and the Catholic mission of the university, giving witness to our faith in Christ within the context of the study of creation,” Bishop Rhoades said to the USF faculty, staff, students, alumni and community supporters.
Bishop Rhoades and USF president Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF, were among the speakers who shared excitement over the completion of the project. The expansion of Achatz Hall added 25,700 square feet onto the 46,000 square feet of renovated space. The expanded John and Toni Murray Research Center was blessed by Bishop Rhoades in January.
“This brings together faith and reason,” Sister Elise said. “With the St. Francis Chapel at the center surrounded by our academic buildings, we really have a visual image of what it means to be a Catholic university.”
As part of the Oct. 2 ceremony, USF alumna Toni Murray was presented with a framed memento of her $3 million gift to the USF Faith and Reason campaign.
In addition to Bishop Rhoades and Sister Elise, speakers at Wednesday’s event included USF board of trustees Chairman Bill Niezer; dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dr. Andrea Geyer; BHDP Architecture design leader Giancarlo Del Vita; Tonn and Blank Construction president and CEO Jon Gilmore; USF alumna Starr Langford; and USF senior Jona Fletcher. USF Vice President of Institutional Advancement Dr. Matt Smith emceed the event and USF Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Lance Richey presented a reading.
Those in attendance were invited to tour the facility, with USF faculty sharing knowledge of the benefits of expansion and renovation. The project includes additional and upgraded laboratories, classrooms, conference rooms, Parkview Physicians Group Auditorium, Star Bank Observation Terrace, study spaces, office spaces and a wide range of scientific instruments and assets conducive to hands-on education.
“The location of the building provides the ability to bring the beauty of the outdoors inside, and clearly represents our Franciscan value to respect creation, especially when you stand in the windowed areas on the north side of the building and look out. It’s just fabulous,” Sister Elise said.
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