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St. John’s set to unveil new student center

St. John’s University will open a $77 million, five-story center that will house classrooms and student recreation space at the end of this month in a building that was recently dedicated to the D’Angelo family, longtime supporters of the school.

Peter and Peg D’Angelo, graduates of St. John’s, are benefactors of the school who helped to fund the structure named after them.

“The D’Angelo Center will serve as the centerpiece of the university’s teaching and learning environment, enhancing opportunities for student engagement and enriching both curricular and co-curricular activities,” St. John’s President the Rev. Donald J. Harrington said at the dedication Oct. 4. “I know that I speak for our university in expressing gratitude to Peter and Peg for their generosity and for their commitment to the future of St. John’s.”

The 127,000-square-foot, brick-and-stone center will feature 14 classrooms, six seminar rooms, student recreation and entertainment space, a café and full-service cafeteria and student organization offices. It is slated to open at the end of October and students will begin taking classes in the center this spring semester.

The center’s 144-foot bell tower will serve as the highest point of any current building located on St. John’s Queens campus.

“Peg and I truly believe in the St. John’s mission,” Peter D’Angelo said. “That is why we are happy to support this university as they help students achieve their goals. This building will be a teaching tool just like books or computers. It is state-of-the-art and will provide the setting in which professors will give their students the education that they are seeking.”

Peter D’Angelo received his master’s in business administration from St. John’s and Peg is a graduate of the university’s School of Education. Peter D’Angelo serves as the president of Caxton Associates, a large hedge fund operator that manages more than $9 billion in assets.

Peter D’Angelo serves on St. John’s board of trustees and chairs its fiscal resource management committee. Peg D’Angelo served as chair of the centennial leadership committee for the School of Education’s 100th anniversary.

Dominic Scianna, St. John’s assistant vice president for media relations, said school officials expect students to flock to the space, which includes a large second-floor lounge with a fireplace, plasma screen televisions and an adjoining study area.

“It’s a student-centered facility that we’ve needed for quite a long time,” Scianna said. “We didn’t have the space we needed for 20,000-plus students on campus. This is an opportunity for our students to have a place to call their own. Once students get in there, they’re really going to lean on it as a focal point of campus.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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