Mount Union College to Dedicate Two Facilities During Homecoming/Alumni Weekend

September 25, 2009

Two highly-anticipated new facilities at Mount Union College will be dedicated on Friday, October 2 as a part of the 2009 Homecoming and Alumni Weekend festivities.

A dedication ceremony for the Gartner Welcome Center, located on the corner of Union Avenue and College Street, will be held at noon. The McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex (MAAC), which includes the McPherson Center for Health and Well-Being, Timken Physical Education Building and the Peterson Field House located on Hartshorn Street across from Mount Union Stadium, will begin at 4 p.m.

The LEED-certified Gartner Welcome Center, which will house the Office of Admission and Office of Student Financial Services, has been named in honor of lead supporters Carl ’60 and Martha Gartner of Minerva, OH. Carl has served on the Board of Trustees for 28 years and he and his wife have always enjoyed, supported and been involved with Mount Union.

“The idea that this facility would be the first ‘green’ building on campus and one of only a few at colleges and universities in Ohio was really appealing to Martha and me,” said Carl. “I’m proud that we were able to do this. We appreciate what Mount Union has done for our family and we were glad to give back.”

Also making significant contributions to the Welcome Center are Dr. James ’49 and Maggie (Kinsey ’51) Rodman and Wanda Fortune, the wife of the late Dr. W. Brooks Fortune ’34.  In their honor, the Office of Admission has been named “The Rodman Family Admission Center” and the Office of Student Financial Services has been named “The Fortune Student Financial Services Center.”

The Gartner Welcome Center will be Alliance’s first LEED building and provide a stand-alone, homey environment that will be sure to make prospective students and their entire families feel at ease as they explore campus for the first time. Four interview rooms are being incorporated that directly overlook the lakes. In addition, the lobby of the facility will provide comfortable and inviting seating in the waiting area as families gather for campus tours and counseling.

The expansion and remodeling to the College’s primary health and wellness complex will also be dedicated during homecoming weekend. The building has been named The McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex – or the MAAC for short – in honor of Richard ’50 and Dorothy (Werstler ’49) McPherson, whose generosity provided for the McPherson Center for Human Health and Well-Being in 1996 as well as for this latest addition and renovation.

Health and fitness are ever-growing aspects of daily life and students view exercise not only as a means of staying well, but as a way to socialize with others. More than 25 percent of the College's 2,200 students participate in intercollegiate athletics and more than 75 percent of the entire student body is involved in intramurals or fitness activities. To meet this growing demand, 31,000 square feet of space has been remodeled, while 41,000 square feet is being added specifically for student health, recreation and fitness.

“The campus center used to be the hub of student activity and socialization on college and university campuses,” said Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of the College.  “Today, though, students tend to gather in the recreation center instead of coffeehouses and snack bars, essentially fulfilling their social needs while exercising their bodies and minds.”

As part of the Drive for Distinction campaign, the MAAC will include a two-story fitness center, a field house, a natatorium, an auxiliary gymnasium, a wrestling center, an indoor track and tennis courts. The Timken lobby will also feature the members of the M Club Hall of Fame. In addition, new and remodeled academic facilities, including a laboratory, an athletic training facility, classrooms, laboratories and office spaces opened for the start of the 2009 Fall Semester.

The facility renovations will also support Mount Union’s sustainability initiatives – a solar panel roof will be installed during the week of September 28. Nearly 90 percent of the Peterson Field House roof that is facing the north side of campus will be covered with solar energy roofing panels. Once completed, the sunlight that is converted into electricity will be enough electricity to fully power five to eight houses. The roofing system was made possible through the generosity of Jack and Madge Peters.

“Both of these facilities are fundamental to our ability to recruit and retain students,” explained Giese. “The Gartner Welcome Center will provide an excellent first impression of our campus with its beautiful view of the Campus Lakes, and the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex is arguably one of the finest multi-purpose complexes among schools our size.  We are very thankful for the generosity of the Gartners, McPhersons, Peters, Rodmans, Fortunes and many others who made these projects possible.  Their dedication and support have truly made these much-needed campus facilities a reality.”

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