Saint Anselm College breaks ground on Roger and Francine Jean Student Center

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Students help break ground for the new student center.

MANCHESTER, NH – The Saint Anselm College community will gain a dynamic new gathering place in the very center of campus, with a lead gift for the expansion and renovation of the Student Center announced Oct. 13 by President Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D. during a groundbreaking ceremony.

A significant portion of a $6 million commitment — the largest individual gift in the college’s history — from trustee Roger L. Jean ’70, HD ’06 and his wife, Francine, will enable the college to undertake the project, which is slated for completion in early 2018. The new building will be known as the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex.

The new complex will rise from the site of the current Cushing Student Center, which was built in 1960. It will extend the existing 40,704-square-foot facility by 12,575 square feet (for a total of 53,280 square feet). It will provide updated and enlarged space for community gatherings and activities and integrate the spiritual, academic and social components of life at the college into one central hub. The Jeans attended the historic groundbreaking event at which they were lauded for their extraordinary generosity and dedication to Saint Anselm College.

Roger Jean talks about investing in Saint Anselm's future during a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 13.
Roger Jean talks about investing in Saint Anselm\’s future during a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 13.

“They describe the Student Center as a ‘catalyst for the college to challenge itself,’ and it is with great faith in the future that we commit today to doing so,” said President DiSalvo. “This gift will transform the center of our campus, and our deepest thanks and appreciation go out to those who have made it possible to launch this project, which will forever enrich the landscape of our campus and the experience of our students.”

Born and raised in Manchester, Roger Jean retired in 2006 as Executive Vice President of the Liberty Mutual Group as well as President of Liberty`s Regional Agency Markets business unit. His remarkably successful career in the insurance industry spanned over 35 years. In addition, he has served on many industry for-profit and non-profit boards in both the United States and Canada. New Hampshire non-profits on the list include The United Way, Animal Rescue League of NH, Daniel Webster Council – Boy Scouts of America and NH Public Radio. He also served on the NH Business and Industry Association Board. He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Saint Anselm College since 1998 and was awarded an honorary doctor of laws in 2006 upon his retirement “in recognition of his life`s work, his compassion for people and concern for future generations of Saint Anselm students.”

Roger and Francine, a graduate of Suffolk University in Boston, met while both worked at Utica National Insurance Group in Burlington, Mass., and married in 1980. In addition to this lead gift, they also established the Roger and Francine Jean Endowed Scholarship Fund at the college in 2003, as well as the Roger and Francine Jean Annual Scholarship Fund in 2007; both provide assistance for New Hampshire students with need. The Endowed Scholarship Fund has helped 21 students so far, and over the years, the Jeans have generously increased the Annual Scholarship Fund with the purpose of providing each student awarded assistance for all four years at Saint Anselm. They hope to make the scholarship program one of the largest at Saint Anselm in the future.

The Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex will benefit all students of Saint Anselm College with a thematic use of space and numerous features to add to student life. The second floor “theme” will be academic success; the first floor will be dedicated to programs and centers at the core of the college’s mission; the ground level will be devoted to student life and activities. The Student Center Complex will also include a relocated Campus Store/Bookstore, a new café managed by in-house Dining Services staff, a glass-windowed second floor flexible function room and a 250-seat auditorium.

“This will create a functional, beautiful, and central hub for all members of our community to come together and experience Anselmian life to the fullest, and in particular will provide new and exciting opportunities to incorporate our Catholic, Benedictine values and ethos into the life of our student body,” said Dr. DiSalvo. “It will be a true complex in the heart of our campus.”

The college has retained BHDP Architecture, known for its designs for workplace, retail, higher education, science and industrial organizations worldwide for over 75 years, to design the expanded facility. Derck & Edson, a renowned land planning, site design and civil engineering firm specializing in enhancing campuses, downtowns, and athletics created the college’s campus enhancement plan in the winter of 2014, and will be designing the landscape architecture for the Student Center Complex. Eckman Construction, a long-time partner of the college, which has built many of the buildings on campus, will once again serve as the Construction Management Company.

Construction now underway will continue until projected completion in early 2018, while fundraising is ongoing with the objective of raising 50 percent of the total $16.5 million project cost.

About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!