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Neff Welcome Center

The Neff Farmhouse was built in 1852 by Morris Neff, an immigrant from Alsace-Loraine.  In 1896 St. Procopius Abbey bought it, along with the Neffs' 104-acre farm.  Some of the monks moved out to Lisle to manage the farm, and they lived in the house.  One of the first modifications was to put a chapel on the north end of the second story.  The intent was always to use the land in part for the schools which were prevented from growth due to lack of space in the city.  In 1900 ground was broken for what was to become Benedictine Hall.  In 1901 the schools moved into their new home.  From that time onwards, the old Neff house was used as a residence by various lay employees who worked on the farm or in some capacity in the schools.  The last workman to live in the farmhouse was Art DeNardo, who arrived in 1961 to work in custodial services.  Being the sole resident of the farmhouse, Art was allowed to live there even after he retired.  Only in the summer of 2010 was he moved over to the Abbey due to declining health.

President William J. Carroll, Ph.D, said that "something incredibly significant happened at the Neff Farmhouse and is happening again more than a century later.  It's where the monks put a stake in the ground as marking the site of the permanent home of their growing college.  This is why we decided to pay homage to their vision, revitalizing it and transforming in into a welcome center.  As the University itself began its Lisle journey here, in this place, incoming students will likewise begin their Benedictine journey in this building."  The new 2,700 square foot, $2.5 million Neff Welcome Center completed in the fall of 2012 is a place where prospective high school students and their parents can begin their tour of campus and take a walk through time as they walk through the Gallery space depicting Benedictine's rich 125-year history with an assortment of artifacts.