Eleven months after dedicating its first residence hall, Ancilla College officials gathered once again Monday for the blessing of its second student housing facility.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese visited the Ancilla campus to bless the new dorm building as well as the recently-added dining hall/student life center. He says the new additions say a lot about the school’s commitment to students. “This is really amazing,” he said. “I had no idea. After last year, I thought this was so beautiful, and to see this second residence hall and this dining hall, to see all the good that’s happening here. But it also reminds us of why you are doing this, why you have made these sacrifices and all you have assisted in these projects. It’s all about the mission, and the mission has to do with the students.” Bishop Rhoades says the goal of Catholic education is not only to teach students valuable information, but also the formation of the whole person.
The bishop was joined by several school and local officials. During the event, Ancilla College Board of Trustees Chair Francis Ellert also unveiled the new name of the first dorm that opened last year, “It gives me great pleasure to announce the board of trustees has voted unanimously to name our first residence hall at Ancilla College in memory of one of our longtime supporters and trustee emeritus, Mr. James Hardesty.”
Meanwhile, the new dining hall will be now known as the Zirkle Commons, after the college’s current president Dr. Ken Zirkle. “I was shocked, absolutely totally shocked, when the board said that they were going to do this, and I have to tell you I’m still in a state of shock over this whole thing,” he said.
Zirkle noted that efforts to add student housing involved many people at the college, beyond just himself. “It’s hard to imagine that two years ago now, we were standing in a corn field if you’d be over here,” he said. “Tim and Joe, who run our farms, were at that time convincing Sister Michele that they were going to have a great crop, so it took a lot of arm wrestling to convince the farmers and Sister Michele that they ought to give up a few acres to put up a couple of buildings, and I appreciate the fact that it has happened.”
The two residence halls will allow nearly 200 students to live on-campus when school starts next month.