Xavier University’s new Learning Commons will be named in honor of Michael J. Conaton, a 1955 graduate, chairman of the board of trustees from 1985 to 2004 and current board member. The Conaton Learning Commons is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010.
A generous gift from 1960 Xavier graduate Charles P. Gallagher will be used at Gallagher’s request to honor Conaton.
“I was honored to be given the naming right and it was a simple decision,” said Gallagher who is also a University Trustee. “Mike Conaton and (the late) Father (James) Hoff had a vision for moving Xavier forward, a vision that we are seeing come true today.”
“Mike is truly a man for others,” said Xavier President Michael J. Graham, S.J. “He is an example of the type of person we want our alumni to become: someone who uses his gifts and talents to make the world a better place.”
“I am truly humbled and grateful for this honor,” said Conaton. “Jim Hoff raised the bar at Xavier and set a tone that pushed the University, and all of us associated with it, to dream big and strive to be better.”
The multi-faceted Conaton Learning Commons will create a one-stop shop of integrated academic, technical and professional services and a collaborative setting for classroom and spontaneous learning.
It will be part of a larger campus construction project known as the James E. Hoff, S.J. Academic Quadrangle. The Hoff Quad, named in honor of the former Xavier President and Chancellor who died in 2004, also includes a new state-of-the-art Williams College of Business and a new central utility plant.
The Conaton Learning Commons will include the following components.
- Center for Teaching Excellence: The center for teaching excellence will establish a professional development facility and support unit to assist faculty in enhancing teaching, scholarship and research through new and emerging methods and technologies.
- Center for Student Excellence: The center will provide students with a central point of academic support and services to help them attain excellence in their academic endeavors and career preparation.
- Eigel Center for Community Engaged Learning: The center builds on Xavier’s rich history of community service by creating more deliberate and strategic community engagement and service learning opportunities.
- Institute for Jesuit Education: The institute assists faculty in further incorporating the University’s Catholic and Jesuit character into the learning environment, providing a deeper context for a creative and intelligent engagement with questions of ethics, moral principles and social values.
- Information Resources Center: The center creates a one-stop location for information and support services for students and faculty.
- Magis Plaza: The plaza will serve as a center point of connection and collaboration for the entire Learning Commons.
For more information please visit www.xavier.edu/greatwonders
Conaton retired as Vice Chairman of the Midland Company, a position he held from 1961. Prior to that he served as controller of The Maloney Company. Conaton was a Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He earned his B.S. degree from Xavier University and was awarded the Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Xavier. He was also was awarded the Paul L. O’Connor Leadership Award for his contributions to the University.
Gallagher is also a long time Xavier supporter. He facilitated the construction of the state-of-the-art, four-level Gallagher Student Center which opened in 2002. In addition to his generosity in supporting the student center, Gallagher also sponsored a scholarship program at Xavier called the Pacesetter Program. Through this program, he helped underwrite the education of 40 inner-city students from his alma maters, St. Martin de Porres and Central Catholic High School in Toledo. Many of these students have gone on to attend Xavier, also with substantial financial help from Gallagher. Gallagher has been a member of the Xavier board of trustees since 1994.
“Charlie’s shoulders are some of the shoulders upon which the future of Xavier University is being built,” said Graham. “We are a better institution because of Charlie’s contributions and we are extremely grateful for his commitment and generosity to Xavier.”