Ribbon cutting celebration officially opens SMWC's sports and recreation center

December 3rd, 2014 | SMWC

Ribbon Cutting Highlight Photos

With the cut of a ribbon, over a decade of dreams and plans came to fruition as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) students, staff, faculty, alums, trustees, Sisters of Providence and community members celebrated the official opening of the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, exactly one year after the ground breaking of the facility.

“The Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center has exceeded my expectations, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude each time I enter – gratitude to each of you for your enduring belief, gratitude for every donor, gratitude for the struggle that increased our excitement and gratitude for the special ways that Providence gave birth to our dreams,” stated Dottie King, Ph.D., president of SMWC.

Over 200 supporters gathered in front of the Knoerle Center to witness the historic occasion.

“It’s such a wonderful addition to the campus,” stated Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett. “It’s just really exciting to see what’s going on at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. This is just another step down that journey of growth and prosperity.”

After the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, guests were welcomed into the Knoerle Center for a reception and tours. The day’s festivities also included a donor luncheon, sports and wellness activities in the gym and fitness center, Game Day Mass and a tailgating party before the Clabber Girl Classic rivalry basketball game in which the Pomeroys face off against the Rose-Hulman Engineers.

The new facility is named after the late Jeanne Knoerle, Sister of Providence and former SMWC president. Knoerle was a Sister of Providence for 62 years as well as an encouraging mentor, author, educator and theologian, continuing the legacy of educating women for positions of leadership began by the College and Congregation's foundress, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. She was a 1949 graduate of SMWC and held several positions at the College, including serving as professor, president from 1968-1983, chancellor from 1984 to 1988 and co-chancellor from 1988-2013. 

“It’s fitting that we named the building after her. She was the honorary chair of this campaign from its inception, and she always had a vision for what this Woods could be and for the ever-changing needs of our students. She knew what an important thing this building was to our campus,” stated President Dottie King. “The very last day I saw her, she handed me a personal check, and she said to me, ‘We must get this done.’ It was less than two weeks later that I learned she had passed, and I thought to myself, ‘We must get this done.’”

The 45,000 square foot building is located at the west edge of campus, behind the Mary and Andy Rooney Library. The facility includes a NCAA regulation-sized gym seating approximately 1,000 spectators, a practice gym for auxiliary revenue and intramural sports, a 3,600 sq. ft. lobby, locker rooms, a training room, a fitness room, offices and ample storage space. Additionally, the facility is verified with a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) environmental certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.

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