Gannon University celebrated the expansion of its branch campus Friday, Aug. 23, in Ruskin, Fla., during a Dedication and Blessing Ceremony.
The addition is centered around a new $20 million, 80,000-square-foot academic building, which marks the second building to be located at the campus in the Sunshine State.
Approximately 220 people attended the ceremony, according to a university press release.
The occasion was marked first by introductory words from Student Government Association President David Long, who from the Yehl Ballroom said, “On behalf of Gannon’s Board of Trustees, I am very excited to share in this moment with you as we commemorate the expansion of our Ruskin, Fla., campus with the opening of our newest academic building.
“As student and trustee, I have profound enthusiasm for the devotion and commitment our institution has had to its students.”
The focus then shifted to the main event in Ruskin, where Sarah Ewing, Ph.D., dean of the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences, and Steven Mauro Ph.D., vice president of academic administration gave remarks on the opening of the new building.
During the event, Keith Taylor, Ph.D., president of Gannon, offered his words on the opening of the new building.
“We’ve been called on this journey as our life purpose and I do believe that Gannon was called to this place, Ruskin, Fla., for a purpose, and with a stronger pull than starting a few programs and educating a few students,” said Taylor.
“We are continuing the tradition of Archbishop Gannon, to build up and to serve the communities we reside in, and grow our roots in.”
Gannon’s foothold in Ruskin originally began in 2015, when the university offered its first academic program, an occupational therapy doctoral program, which had only 28 students in its first class.
Since then, the campus has seen growth to include seven programs, as well as an expanding faculty and staff of 30 people.
Overall, the Ruskin campus is home to more than 240 enrolled students, according to a university press release.
When asked what the campus improvements will mean for enticing new students, Taylor was quick to respond.
“It now feels like land with Gannon on it.” Taylor said.
“When somebody now walks on that campus, they get a much bigger sense of there being a substantial institution that is educating students.”
In addition to the new building, the current academic building underwent renovations, and a new parking lot was created.
Though students currently attending classes at the main campus in Erie are unable to enjoy the benefits of the new building, they say they are nonetheless impressed and happy with the addition.
“I think it’s awesome they offer another location for people to attend,” said Ryan Duckett, a sophomore physical therapy major.
“It’ll definitely serve our university well, and it’ll open a lot of doors for students to get the education they want.”
Some students from the Erie campus have thought about transferring to the Ruskin campus.
“I think it’s actually a really good opportunity for PT students,” said Lily Noble, a sophomore sport and exercise science major.
“It offers a different region for us to have clinical and I myself am debating whether or not to go there for grad school.”
Responses like this are the hope that Ruskin’s campus will continue to grow throughout the years.
For those in the fields Ruskin offers, can check out Gannon.edu for more information.