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St. John’s University opens five-story D’Angelo Center

Hundreds of St. John’s University students, administrators and staff gathered Monday for the opening of the D’Angelo Center, a five-story building on the Fresh Meadows campus that houses everything from classrooms to pool tables and was designed to serve as the hub of student life.

“This center is going to build community, and this will continue to radiate the St. John’s spirit for years to come,” St. John’s President the Rev. Donald J. Harrington said at the official unveiling of the building held Monday afternoon.

The $77 million center was named after Peter and Margaret D’Angelo, St. John’s alumni and longtime supporters of the school who helped to fund the center.

“For me and Peg this is a great day,” said Peter D’Angelo, who graduated in 1978 with an MBA. “We’re honored and privileged to have our names on this building and be forever associated with St. John’s University.”

Peter D’Angelo received his master’s in business administration from St. John’s and Margaret 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. Margaret D’Angelo served as chairwoman of the centennial leadership committee for the School of Education’s 100th anniversary.

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. Space for students includes a living room with a fireplace and game rooms equipped with pool and football tables and video game systems.

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

Officials from Gensler Architects said they worked long hours with students and college officials to create plans for the building, and Michael Patrick, project design director, said they wanted it to be reminiscent of Ellis Island with its massive arched windows and tall ceilings.

“The D’Angelo Center will be the centerpiece of our teaching and learning environment and is a space whose inspiration comes from the great halls of Ellis Island,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, vice president for student affairs. “It reminds us of our mission to educate immigrants.”

Monday’s ceremony included performances by the campus choral group Voices of Victory and carolers and a ribbon-cutting. Students attending the event said they were thrilled to have the new space on campus.

“The D’Angelo Center is a true university center,” said Patrick McBurney, president of the student body. “It will be the hub of our campus .%u2026 This will be a staple of every current and future student’s experience at St. John’s.”

Dana Lezama, president of the 2008-09 class, said the building will be the “heart” of the campus. Lezama’s class donated the fireplace situated in the living room.

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

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