Student Commons Dedicated; Linda E. McMahon Honored
Sacred Heart University dedicated its new student commons under sunny skies on Friday, April 13. The 46,000 square-foot building was named in honor of Linda E. McMahon, trustee and longtime friend of the University. The ceremonial ribbon was cut by McMahon, SHU President John J. Petillo, Student Government President Mia James and Board of Trustees Vice Chairman James T. Morley, Jr., in front of hundreds of onlookers.
The building was designed by Sasaki Associates and built by Pavarini Construction. Sasaki Associates also designed the University’s award-winning Chapel of the Holy Spirit. The new commons includes a spacious bookstore; a servery adjoining a 250-seat student dining hall; a private dining room with a hearth and seating for 50; informal lounge spaces, including a fireplace lounge; a presentation room; career counseling offices; and a pub that has been named Red’s by the students after the school mascot.
During her remarks, Linda McMahon spoke of her love of education. She noted that although she graduated from college with a teaching certificate, she never was formally a teacher. “However I do believe I am a teacher. I taught my children as they grew up. I taught the young people that came to the WWE to start their careers. I think we are all teachers every day of our lives.” She also advised the students that it is possible for them to get married and have both a family and a career, although she counseled them that they would have to make some sacrifices. McMahon expressed gratitude that the student commons has been named in her honor, saying that she was equally honored when she was asked to become a trustee and has loved the opportunity to “play a small part” in the growth of Sacred Heart.
Student Government President Mia James spoke of the students’ excitement to have a building dedicated to them and their activities. “With the opening of the Linda E. McMahon Student Commons, our university is taking another large leap in an exciting direction. Our new bookstore, dining area, Red’s and all that this building has to offer opens many new opportunities and adds an entire new feature to our university. The Linda E. McMahon Student Commons is a place for current students to come together and enjoy their time at Sacred Heart with one another; it is a place that will attract potential students who hope to have these same experiences; and a place where alumni will want come back to,” she said.
Those gathered for the dedication were treated to a performance by the University’s Four Heart Harmony choral ensemble. The highlight of the day may have been a surprise dance performance by a flash mob made up of students, which concluded the formal ceremony. Attendees were then invited into the building for tours and a reception.
The new building will fully open in time for the fall semester, but seniors will be treated to a party in the new commons before they graduate.