On October 23, Marymount University celebrated its 60th anniversary with the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for its 26th Street Project.
The most ambitious construction initiative at the University in four decades, the project includes Caruthers Hall, a 52,000 square-foot academic facility focused on the sciences and health sciences; Rose Benté Lee Ostapenko Hall, a 77,000 square-foot residence hall providing apartment-style housing for 239 students; and the Malek Family Plaza, an outdoor gathering space with café seating between the two buildings. The complex is built over four levels of underground parking.
Marymount has incorporated sustainable design into this construction project, which participates in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Green features include recycled and local materials used in construction; innovative plumbing fixtures resulting in 21% less water consumption than comparable facilities; and energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that use approximately 50% less energy, compared with other similar facilities.
The ribbon cutting was held during Family Weekend, so that parents and family members could join their students at the celebration. Other guests included Marymount Trustees; members of the University’s founding Order, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM); alumni; neighbors; government officials; and faculty and staff.
The program began under a tent at the front of campus. Barry J. Fitzpatrick, chairman of Marymount’s Board of Trustees, expressed the joy of all assembled, saying, “Today is like Christmas for the Marymount community. …The great day is really, finally here! The project that you see before you – our “Miracle on 26th Street” – is the result of six years of planning and effort.”
Sister Brigid Driscoll, RSHM, a Marymount Trustee, echoed his enthusiasm, saying, “What a proud day! We have much to celebrate – not only these wonderful new buildings, but also Marymount University’s 60 years of success.” Sister Driscoll added, “The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary are proud to have given this institution its start. …It does our hearts good to see all that Marymount has become, and to envision the even greater accomplishments that undoubtedly lie ahead for this University.”
Marymount President James E. Bundschuh thanked the campus community and the University’s supporters for helping to make the “Miracle on 26th Street” a reality. He then recognized the project’s lead donors:
• Marymount Trustee Rose Benté Lee, for whom the new residence hall is named, along with her late husband, Admiral William M. Ostapenko;
• Mr. and Mrs. Preston Caruthers, for whom the new academic building is named;
• Marymount Trustee Marlene Malek and her husband Frederic V. Malek, for whom the plaza between the buildings is named;
• Marymount Trustee Lola Reinsch and her husband, J. Almont Pierce, for whom the Reinsch Pierce Family Café in Caruthers Hall is named; and
• Branch Banking and Trust Corporation (BB&T), the project’s major corporate donor, in whose honor the clock tower crowning Caruthers Hall is named.
Other speakers included Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) and Paul Ferguson, Clerk of the Arlington County Circuit Court and a former member of the Arlington County Board.
Congressman Moran said, “Institutions of higher education like Marymount play a vital role in the economy and our society.” Noting the importance of the new academic facilities provided by Caruthers Hall, he added, “As we move forward in the 21st century, it is graduates with a strong foundation, particularly in science and health, who we are going to be most looked to for leadership.”
Mr. Ferguson reviewed the project's approval process and acknowledged the cooperation between Marymount and its neighbors. He noted, “A lot of compromise took place, and in the end, I believe the large, large majority of people who live around the University are very excited and happy with the results of this project."
The students and faculty, who will benefit most from the new facilities, were also well represented. Dr. Jason Craig, associate professor of Physical Therapy and president of Marymount’s Faculty Council, thanked the University’s administration and Board of Trustees for their vision. He said, “Here we are, opening up your vision. …For some of you, this is the completion of a project. But for the faculty, this is the beginning of something new. … As faculty, it’s our responsibility to take the vision that created these buildings and inspire a new generation of students.”
Katy Barker ’11, president of Marymount’s Student Government Association, thanked everyone who made Caruthers Hall and Lee Ostapenko Hall possible. She explained, “Though not all students here are majoring in the sciences or health sciences, we are all required to take science as part of our core curriculum. So the new, state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms will heighten every student’s learning experience.”
In closing, Dr. Bundschuh said, “Today, as we celebrate Marymount University’s 60th anniversary and the opening of our ‘Miracle on 26th Street,’ my thoughts are mostly about our students. Rose Benté Lee Ostapenko Hall is a home-away-from-home: a beautiful living space for our students to enjoy, and an environment in which they can develop their independence and form friendships that will last a lifetime. Caruthers Hall is a hub of learning: a place where our students and faculty will collaborate in the search for knowledge and truth. And one can only imagine how much they will achieve, given these fantastic new resources!”
Following the speaking program, the assembled crowd followed a Dixieland band across the new pedestrian bridge to the Malek Family Plaza, where the ribbon cutting took place under an archway of blue and white balloons.
1. (left to right) Jason Craig; Katy Barker; Sister Brigid Driscoll RSHM; James E. Bundschuh; Lois Bundschuh; Preston Caruthers; Jeanne Caruthers; Congressman James Moran; Rose Benté Lee; Pam Fitzpatrick; Barry Fitzpatrick; Paul Ferguson; Marlene Malek; Frederic V. Malek; Lola Reinsch; J. Almont Pierce
2. Marymount president James E. Bundschuh
3. Barry Fitzpatrick, Rose Benté Lee; Sister Brigid Driscoll, RSHM; Congressman James Moran; Preston Caruthers
4. Student Government Association president Katy Barker
5. Rose Benté Lee with Marymount students