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​Fr. Shanley with the Ruanes.

New Humanities Building to Acknowledge Ruanes’ Gift

Providence, R.I.--Fortified by a major gift from a prominent alumnus and his wife, Providence College will begin construction on an academic building devoted to the humanities in spring 2012.

The new building will be called the Ruane Center for the Humanities in recognition of the leadership gift made by Board of Trustees’ chair Michael A. Ruane ’71 and his wife, Elizabeth.

Scheduled for completion in summer 2013, the Ruane Center for the Humanities will become the College’s signature academic building. The facility will symbolize PC’s commitment to the liberal arts, the humanities, and undergraduate education--including the revitalized Core Curriculum, which will begin being formally implemented in fall 2012.

The Ruane Center will be dedicated to disciplines in the humanities and serve as the home of the Development of Western Civilization (DWC) and Liberal Arts Honors programs. It also will house the departments of English and history and the School of Arts & Sciences.

The building will be constructed on the main campus between the Phillips Memorial Library and the Albertus Magnus-Sowa-Hickey science complex.

“In the spirit of a Dominican education, the Ruane Center will signify the habits of mind that a liberal arts education embodies, epitomize the value of interdisciplinary inquiry and study, and promote conversation and contemplation,” said Dr. Hugh F. Lena, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“Moreover, the generosity of our benefactors allows the College to create bright spaces for teaching, learning, and research that are appropriate for the next generation of PC students,” he added.

High point of St. Dominic Weekend

News of the Ruanes’ leadership gift and the new academic building was announced by College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80 during the closing Evening of Appreciation at the recent St. Dominic Weekend on campus. The third annual weekend, which celebrates the generosity of the College’s leading benefactors, was called Celebrating Your Commitment and attracted more than 400 benefactors and guests from 16 states and the District of Columbia.

Father Shanley prefaced his announcement by noting that the revitalized Core Curriculum will go into effect next fall. He alluded to the prominence that DWC will retain in the new Core and stated there was a need for a new academic facility to support Civ, its new emphasis on smaller classes and increased student participation, and the humanities in general.

“I couldn’t be any more excited about a new academic facility than I am for this building,” said Father Shanley.

“I can’t thank you enough, Mike and Elizabeth,” he added.

The Ruanes are longtime College benefactors and members of the 1917 Society, which recognizes giving to PC at the $250,000 level and above. Michael Ruane has served as a trustee since 1999 and as chair since 2004.

“This contribution was made for sustaining and advancing the Catholic and Dominican mission that Providence College embodies and which you embody,” he told the audience. 

“I am very, very happy to be a part of the Providence College community. As we go forward as a community, we are just beginning. My passion for Providence College will not abate.”

Flexibility of space emphasized

The vision and plans for the new humanities building have been developed by the seven-member Humanities Building Program Committee, chaired by Charles J. Haberle, assistant vice president for academic affairs. Several architectural firms have submitted designs plans for review by the College community.

According to Haberle, a key component in the design of the building is the need for flexibility in the use of space, particularly instructional space. The committee’s recommendations 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 recommendations include a large, flexible presentation and functional space, group and individual study spaces, and faculty and student lounge/community space.

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