$25 Million Forever Forward Gala Event
By: Ian Howell
Quincy University kicked off its Forever Forward campaign with a private gala launch event on Saturday, October 24th in QU’s Health and Fitness Center.
Forever Forward is QU’s first comprehensive capital campaign, aiming to raise $25 million for a series of projects that will focus on improving and enhancing the learning and living environment for students at Quincy University.
The gala event celebrated past, present, and future accomplishments and gave thanks to the university’s many faculty, alumni, students, and friends who have contributed to these landmark successes.
The campaign is built around preservation, innovation, and education, three critical pillars in QU’s vision to move the university forever forward.
“As we look to the future, we are not losing sight of our past and the core values that are so critical in our world today. We are preserving those values along with some very critical structures that symbolize those values,” QU President Robert Gervasi said. “In looking to the future, we are also celebrating the timeless liberal arts education we provide to our students. That education is being delivered in innovative ways to ensure our students are still getting the best education possible to prepare them to make a difference in the world around them, the mission of Quincy University.”
Forever Forward will be focusing on several major renovations and enhancements to the campus. The foremost among them will be the Student Union.
The Student Union is often looked upon as the living room of the campus. Until this year, it had not improved much since it was first built in the 60’s. This is changing, however, as students were welcomed back to campus with a renovated cafeteria, thanks to a $2 million investment from Chartwells. Quincy University does not plan on stopping there.
“We are re-imagining this space into a modern, attractive space for students to gather and socialize. A space for students to get their mail, pick up a cup of coffee, and shoot pool,” QU alumna and Campaign co-chair Dr. Linda Moore said. “A space for student clubs and organizations to meet and plan and host events. A place with a true multicultural center and a bigger and better Hawk’s Nest.”
The Science Center at North Campus is another renovation that QU hopes to accomplish through its campaign. The new Science Center will give students greater access to state of the art equipment and classrooms. They will be able to conduct research and work with their professors using renovated teaching laboratories, technology equipped classrooms, new faculty-student research laboratories, and new student study spaces and computer lab.
Renovations are already underway at the Science Center thanks to a $2 million donation from an anonymous university alum.
Other changes intended for North Campus include enhancements to the Music and Communication departments.
For Music, QU will create a dedicated piano lab, a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) lab, a music theory classroom, and plenty of new space for faculty and student instruction and practice.
The Music Department has already seen significant improvement with the creation of the Connie Niemann Center for Music, which opened in 2012, thanks to a generous gift of $1 million from Rich Niemann Sr. and the Niemann Foods Foundation.
The Communication department will create an Interactive Broadcast Center, which will not only include an expanded television broadcast studio, but also an audio recording studio, internet radio station, production recording theater, and interactive media lab.
Though Brenner Library has already benefitted from the campaign with last year’s opening of the Student Success Center, QU intends to continue its enhancement of the library.
“To support the modern student, the university is transforming its library. While preservation of rare books remains a priority, there is room for a reinvented library. One with collaboration rooms and shared technology,” QU alum and Campaign co-chair Bill Metzinger said. “A place for faculty to learn new instructional methods and record lectures. A place where knowledge is exchanged freely, and students can grow and learn.”
Other projects that will be supported by the Forever Forward Campaign are the restoration and preservation of the St. Francis Solanus Chapel’s iconic stained glass windows and interior, and a strong endowment to protect QU from economic fluctuations and help enrich the lives of students through scholarships.
The gala event was hosted and emceed by QU alum and investigative reporter Mike Colombo, and food and drink was provided by Chartwells. Musical performances were given by the No Strings Attached Saxophone Quartet, the Hawk Express Jazz Band, and the Chamber Choir Men’s and Women’s Ensembles.
“The turnout was absolutely amazing, and I think that everybody that was able to join us was blown away with the investment that not only the university has been able to secure financially, but also the investment and dedication to the student and the faculty overall surrounding this campaign,” Director of University Communications Heidi Meyer said.
Of Forever Forward’s $25 million goal, $15.25 million has been raised as of Saturday. Projects already funded by the campaign are the Student Success Center and the newly renovated stadium, The Rock.
“It’s a great vision,” QU alum and former Board of Trustees member Sam Banks said. “With all the support QU receives from its staff, alumni, and students, it’ll be awesome to see what they can accomplish.”