"The impact of this building is hard to overstate," said Emmanuel College President Sr. Janet Eisner, SNDdeN, in her welcoming remarks. "The pulse of our campus life different. Step onto the modern plaza just outside, and you can sense a new bustle, a new buzz. This is what happens when more juniors and seniors live on campus, where they can contribute more fully to the vitality of our community."
"In a deeper sense, this new residence hall enhances our ability to fulfill commitments that have been at the heart of Emmanuel's mission since 1919. Commitments to providing extraordinary student life experiences, to fostering student-faculty connections and to educating the whole person."
Sr. Janet expressed her gratitude for members of the extended Emmanuel community who, through their vision and expertise, made the building a reality, including Thomas J. Hynes, Jr., vice chair of the board of trustees, for "helping Emmanuel flourish in ways that, just a few decades ago, seemed unimaginable." Hynes, a member of Emmanuel's Board for 23 years and co-chairman and CEO of commercial real estate firm Colliers International, spoke of Sr. Janet's vision to "go big" with a solution for housing more Emmanuel students on campus as a "bold move by any measure." Sr. Janet also commended the College's treasurer and chief financial officer, Sister Anne Donovan, SNDdeN, who "spearheaded the effort to construct this magnificent building, succeeding with characteristic resourcefulness and a talent for making things happen."
Integral to the equation is fellow Colleges of the Fenway institution, MCPHS University, and its president, Charles Monahan, Jr. Through the two institutions' long-term partnership, around 250 MCPHS University students reside in the new residence hall, enhancing the strong sense of community between COF students.
Sheila Dillon, chief of housing and director of neighborhood development for the city of Boston, cited housing as the number one problem the city is facing, and praised Emmanuel for its response to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh's challenge to urban colleges to house more students on campus.
"We are not going to solve our housing issue unless we house our students," Dillon said. "We want them to have that experience of living on campus, in beautiful, safe housing. Emmanuel is a leader in this—a small college that could set the example for all colleges and universities."
Student Government Association executive president Jessie Wang '19 spoke on behalf of the student body, expressing her gratitude for the "new dining options, a plethora of amenities, increased attendance at on-campus events, a return of so many of my senior classmates to campus."
Margaret McKenna '83, chair of the board of trustees, closed the speaking program, and celebrated the results of years of thoughtful research, planning, discussion and hard work.
"As Sister Janet mentioned, this building is already having an impact far beyond its physical footprint," McKenna said. "Not only is it strengthening Emmanuel's position in higher education, it is also helping to fulfill the College's limitless potential as it enters its second century."
After the speaking program, student leaders were on hand to offer tours of amenities such as the fitness center and dance studio, and to escort guests to the event space on the 17th floor to take in the sweeping views of Boston.