The University officially welcomed more than 600 new freshman and transfer students today for the first day of fall classes after completing a physical reorganization during the summer to better align student resources and support services on the Lisle main campus.
All of the University’s enrollment functions – including freshman, transfer, adult and international recruitment – have been consolidated in the Lownik Enrollment Services Center (formerly Lownik Hall), which retained the offices of Financial Aid, Human Resources, and Administration and Finance.
The Office of Alumni Relations has moved from the Krasa Student Center to the Neff Alumni Center (formerly Neff Welcome Center), which is dedicated to the University’s rich history and generations of alumni.
The former Student Success Center and Career Development Center have been merged into a single entity – the Academic and Career Enrichment Center (ACE) – which is located in Goodwin Hall. The change reflects a more concentrated effort to help students make better decisions about major fields of study and future career opportunities.
ACE offers a variety of resources, including workshops for academic tutoring, studies skills, resume writing, job search and interviewing strategies. Newer features include enhanced online services and the addition of a dedicated science learning specialist to help students meet the demands of challenging courses offered through the College of Science.
Goodwin Hall is also the new home of the School of Graduate, Adult and Professional Education (formerly based in Naperville and called the National Moser Center for Adult Learning), the Advising Center (previously New Student Advising Center) and the new Center for Experiential Learning (BenXL).
Beginning with this fall’s incoming freshman class, students must satisfy an “experiential learning” requirement prior to graduation. BenXL will serve as a central clearinghouse for hands-on learning opportunities offered through the University, including internships, service learning, study abroad experiences, student-faculty research and courses with real-world applicable activities.
In addition to the physical and academic changes, Benedictine President Michael S. Brophy, Ph.D., M.F.A., has appointed Ali Yurtsever, Ph.D., as the institution’s first Muslim faith advisor. In his role, Yurtsever will work to further promote interfaith dialogue and better meet the spiritual, academic and cultural needs of the University’s significant Muslim population.
“All of these changes are in line with our vested interest in continuing our 1,500-year Catholic and Benedictine faith traditions, which are founded on love for God, love for others and hard work in the pursuit of excellence and truth,” Brophy said.
The University has also restructured and repurposed office space and building facilities to better serve students on the Springfield branch campus, which as of June is fully focused on meeting the needs of the area’s adult undergraduate and graduate student population through the School of Graduate, Adult and Professional Education.
Angela Hall now serves as the site of the Springfield campus’ Commencement exercises while providing gymnasium space for Good Guides, a Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries program, to hold basketball practice. The stately, restored Brinkerhoff Home, built in 1869 and the oldest building on campus, houses adult admission offices, other supporting faculty offices and a conference room on the main floor. The first floor of the Brinkerhoff Home is reserved for social receptions and meetings.
Administrative offices and library space occupy the main floor of the Charles E. Becker Library building, while the lower level houses an auditorium and computer labs.
The University is seeking potential rental partners or buyers for buildings it owns that are not located within a contiguous two-block area of campus.
The University sold one of its non-contiguous properties, the Eighth Street gym, located at 1401 North Eighth St., in October 2015. Built in 1935, the gym was used for volleyball games and as a practice facility for other sports. It was sold to a local gym owner who renovated it and opened it as a secondary location.
“Such an initiative is part of the University’s commitment to being a good neighbor and partner with the Springfield area community,” said Susie Doddek, BenU at Springfield campus administrator. “The sale and subsequent renovation, which includes new flooring and accessibility improvements, has truly been a positive move for the neighborhood.”
At the Mesa branch campus, where 387 traditional undergraduate students began classes this fall, BenU vacated the 51 E. Main St. location as part of an agreement with the city of Mesa. Offices which had been located there were relocated to Gillett Hall at 225. E. Main St., while the University took occupancy of classroom space at the Mesa Center for Higher Education, located at 245 W. Second St.
The University is also in the process of developing a downtown property as a residence for students while it seeks funding and approval to expand offerings at Gillett Hall.
“These are exciting times to be a part of BenU at Mesa,” said Charles Gregory, Mesa campus executive officer. “We are seeing tremendous growth in not only our student enrollment, but also in our program offerings, and are thankful for the shared commitment and involvement of the City of Mesa and the overall community.”
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. A 2016 PayScale Inc. report ranked BenU one of the top 10 colleges in Illinois for return on investment and in the top 20 percent nationally. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.