Xavier University Presents Bishop Edward Fenwick Place

September 23, 2011

Xavier University’s newest addition to campus will now be known as Bishop Edward Fenwick Place. The complex name was unveiled at Xavier’s Founders’ Day event last night. In addition, the greenspace outside Fenwick Place, Gallagher Student Center and Husman Residence Hall will be known as Xavier Yard and the future site of the offices of residence life, auxiliary services, bursar and registrar inside Fenwick Place will be known as The Musketeer Mezzanine.

In August, Xavier University opened the 245,000 square-foot complex - second in size only to the Cintas Center. It houses 535 students, suite-style, in four connected buildings and is also the site of the Hoff Dining Commons, which seats up to 700 inside and another hundred or so outside.

While the four residential towers will be named by donors, naming of the entire complex was turned over to Xavier faculty, staff and students. Dave Johnson, executive director of Xavier’s Dorothy Day Center for Faith & Justice, and Ryan Alleman, president of Xavier Student Government, were tasked with overseeing the process to solicit names for the whole complex, the greenspace outside, and the mezzanine inside. Over 140 names were submitted and were narrowed down to 18 choices by a diverse group of students. Then, faculty, staff and students voted from among seven options for the complex, six for the greenspace and five for the mezzanine. The results were submitted to Fr. Michael Graham, Xavier’s president, who reviewed them.

Edward Dominic Fenwick (1768-1832) was the first bishop of Cincinnati, ordained in 1822. In 1831, he founded the seminary of the Athenaeum of Ohio-Mount St. Mary’s of the West, the oldest Catholic seminary west of the Appalachian Mountains. It was a men’s college in downtown Cincinnati, adjacent to St. Xavier Church, which Fenwick dedicated to the patronage of Francis Xavier. In 1840, Fenwick’s successor, John Baptist Purcell, asked the Society of Jesus to take control of the school, and the Jesuits changed the name to St. Xavier College. In 1930, it became Xavier University. Xavier University was the first Catholic institution of higher learning in the Northwest Territory and is the fourth-oldest Jesuit and sixth-oldest Catholic university in the United States.

"One of the great things about the naming of this new building has been the involvement of the student body,” says Alleman, the student government president. “When President Graham charged us with this task, we knew two things were important to him: that the name of the complex represent Xavier's Catholic heritage, and that the student body be involved in the decision. The end result, I hope, is a set of names that the entire Xavier Community will embrace."