The name of the newest addition to Xavier's campus, Bishop Edward Fenwick Place, was unveiled during the University’s Founders’ Day event held at the new residence hall and dining complex on Thursday evening, Sept. 22. Fenwick was Cincinnati’s first bishop.
In addition, the greenspace surrounded by Fenwick Place, Gallagher Student Center and Husman Residence Hall was named Xavier Yard, while an area inside the complex was named Musketeer Mezzanine. It is the future site of the offices of residence life, auxiliary services, bursar and registrar. Photos of the buildings and Founders' Day event are available in this slide show.
Xavier opened the 245,000 square-foot complex, second in size only to the Cintas Center, in August. It houses 535 students in suite-style living quarters in four connected buildings. It is also the site of the Hoff Dining Commons, which seats up to 700 people inside and another hundred or so outside.
While the four residential buildings will be named individually by donors, the 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 the Student Government Association, oversaw the process of soliciting names for the whole complex, the greenspace outside and the mezzanine inside.
Over 140 names were submitted for the three spaces, and 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 President Michael J. Graham, S.J., who approved the final selections.
"One of the great things about the naming of this new building has been the involvement of the student body,” Alleman said. “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."
Fenwick was ordained in 1822 as the first bishop of Cincinnati. 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 over management of the school, and the Jesuits changed the name to St. Xavier College. In 1930, it became Xavier University, the first Catholic institution of higher learning in the Northwest Territory, the fourth-oldest Jesuit and sixth-oldest Catholic university in the United States.