Gannon University dedicates new Beyer Hall

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The $6.3 million worth of renovations to Beyer Hall that took place over the past several months are finally complete, and the hall is now ready to host student organizations and administrative offices for years to come.
On Friday, the Gannon University community came together for a dedication and blessing ceremony to celebrate the new space.
Amanda Granata, president of the Student Government Association (SGA), began the dedication ceremony and expressed how the new Beyer Hall will not only benefit student organizations like SGA, but the student body as a whole.
“We haven’t been in our space very long, but SGA is already starting to grow and develop based on our interactions that we are able to have with our fellow student leaders, staff members and faculty,” Granata said.
“I have no doubt that students will be able to maximize their Gannon experience and expand their potential throughout this new space.”
Student offices that are now located in the new Beyer Hall include the Student Government Association, the Activities Planning Board, Interfraternity Council and PanHellenic Council.
Granata later mentioned the advantage the new location has in getting more feedback from students than SGA could before.
“It is easy to walk out of the office and be in the presence of many students who can give opinions on something we are working on,” Granata said. “SGA will also have a drop box where students will be able to provide feedback for our organization and the university as well as turn in papers associated with programs that we will be hosting.”
Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., was next to speak at the event and addressed those who had been at similar events and grand openings at Gannon in the past and commented on how exciting they could be.
“We’re kind of getting good at them,” he said.
Taylor commented on how Beyer Hall was originally a strictly academic building, but now serves a different but equally important purpose.
“What fills Beyer Hall today and we hope for every day going forward is that energy that is sparked when people come together, specifically when students from diverse backgrounds come together in the spirit of brotherhood and a love of learning and partnership,” Taylor said. “This beautiful structure belongs to the students.”
Josiah Leach, vice president for student engagement in the Student Government Association, spoke about how the new Beyer Hall has created the perfect environment for student development and engagement (SD&E) and creates an additional environment in which students can reach their full potential.
Leach said that Beyer Hall creates a perfect environment for everything the SD&E does.
“Students have a common space where they can collaborate and really create meaningful ideas and experiences,” Leach said. “It’s a space for advancement.”
Dante Stefanelli, president of the Activities Planning Board (APB), did not speak at the event but commented on behalf of APB on the new office. He said that the move to Beyer Hall has gone smoothly.
“Between the four organizations, we have a very large and versatile workspace to share,” Stefanelli said. “This space is open to all students and we encourage everyone to utilize the new space.”

Babtunde Jimmy, president of the African Student Organization, recalled the first time he came to Gannon and visited the International Student Office. That same office is now known as the Office of Global Support and Student Engagement, and is located in Beyer Hall.
He said he remembered having many questions about if he was making the right decision, and emphasized how important his experience with the faculty there was early on in his time at Gannon.
“The only relief I had at the end of the day was the kindness and hospitality from the wonderful staff of the office,” Jimmy said. “I began a relationship with this university that I still enjoy today.”
After a blessing led by the bishop of the Diocese of Erie, the Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, intercessions were underway. They emphasized Beyer Hall, which is now home to English as a Second Language classrooms in addition to the new Office of Global Support and Student Engagement, as a center for students from around the world to feel welcome. Each intercession was read by either a faculty member or a student of a different nationality in their own language, which included German, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese.
Finally, the ribbon was brought out, which made its way down the stairs and around the front of the podium, with dozens of members of the Gannon community participating in the ceremonial ribbon cutting.
“The world’s largest ribbon!” exclaimed Taylor. “Well, not quite, but it is long.”
The ribbon cutting concluded the dedication and blessing ceremony and tours for anyone interested followed.
“We envisioned Beyer Hall as our students’ second home on campus, a place where people will meet, mix, learn and grow, where cultures will come together, where new ideas will be born — and new friendships, too,” Taylor said in a press release. “This is a laboratory where the opportunities of a globally-aware, culturally fluent future will grow and develop.”

KYLE JOSEPH
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