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For Immediate Release: June 7, 2012

Providence College Breaks Ground for the Ruane Center for the Humanities

Multi-level, 63,000 square foot facility will become the College’s signature academic building and home of its Development of Western Civilization (DWC) and Liberal Arts Honors programs symbolizing PC’s commitment to the liberal arts and the humanities.

Providence, R.I. – Providence College (PC) today broke ground for construction of the Ruane Center for the Humanities, a 63,000-square-foot multi-level facility, on its campus in the Elmhurst section of Providence.  College officials – including College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., ’80 and PC Board Chairman Michael A. Ruane ’71 – joined the College’s Board of Trustees, state and city officials, and members of the PC community in ceremonial activities to bless and mark the beginning of construction of what will soon become the College’s signature academic building.

The Ruane Center for the Humanities is named in recognition of PC Board of Trustees Chair Ruane and his wife, Elizabeth, whose leadership gift helped make the facility possible. Scheduled to open in fall 2013, it will serve as home to the College’s Development of Western Civilization (DWC) and Liberal Arts Honors programs, the Departments of English and History, and the School of Arts & Sciences.

“I am more excited about The Ruane Center for the Humanities than I have ever been about any new facility on this campus,” said Father Shanley.  “Students learn differently now than they did twenty years ago.  The advent of technology is partly responsible for that, coupled with the knowledge that students learn and retain more when they are more actively involved in their education.  The Ruane Center will provide Providence College with state-of-the-art teaching and learning space that promotes dialogue between and among students and faculty while also encouraging greater student engagement in their scholarship and study,” Father Shanley said.


“Together with the Board of Trustees, I am proud of the process which produced a bold, strategic plan for the College that recognizes academic excellence as its centerpiece,” said Mr. Ruane.  “I have always felt that an academic building which caused the community to come together in continual improvement for academics was absolutely critical to Providence College.  In addition, Elizabeth and I are most pleased that when the Ruane Center opens its doors in the fall of 2013, the Development of Western Civilization program – the core academic program at Providence College – will finally have a permanent and most fitting home,” Mr. Ruane said.

Despite its place as the centerpiece of a Providence College education, the College’s DWC program has never had a permanent home since the program was established in 1971.  With DWC retaining its prominence in the College’s new Core Curriculum scheduled to commence in fall 2012, there was a need for a new academic facility to support the program, its new emphasis on smaller classes and increased student participation, and the humanities in general.

“Providence College’s distinctive core curriculum aims to instill in students the ability to reason well; reconcile opposing points of view; seek and respect truth; appreciate beauty and human expression; and write, speak and listen with prevision and generosity of spirit.  We challenge our students to question ideas and arguments in order to grasp the essence of truth as the- foundation for learning,” said Father Shanley.

The Ruane Center will be constructed on the College’s main campus between the Phillips Memorial Library and the Albertus Magnus-Sowa-Hickey science complex.  The construction manager is Dimeo Corporation of Providence.  The architect is S/L/A/M Collaborative of Boston, MA.

A key component in the design of the building was the need for flexibility in the use of space, particularly instructional space.  The Ruane Center will include 12 seminar-style classrooms to accommodate 20-22 students and at least four larger classrooms to support the DWC Program and its new colloquia, as well as the Liberal Arts Honors Program.

Other academic-oriented features expected to be included in the building are a large, flexible presentation and functional space, group and individual study spaces, faculty offices, and faculty and student lounge/community space.

Projected costs for the entire project are approximately $20 million.  No tuition dollars will be used to fund the project.  Financing for the project has been approved and is being provided through bonds sold through the Rhode Island Health and Educational Building Corporation and through contributions from alumni/alumnae and friends of the College.


Steve Maurano
Assistant Vice President
Public Affairs and Community Relations
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