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October, 2019

Sign of New Vigor on Campus:
Keane Hall to Become McGivney

By Richard Wilkinson


Renovations to Keane Hall, which will become McGivney Hall, began in April.

This spring brings more symbols of renewal at CUA than the blooming of campus flowers. One is the construction of a new residence hall. Another is the beginning of renovations at Keane Hall, which by the summer of 2008 will become the new McGivney Hall. The building will undergo a makeover, thanks to a generous $8 million gift from the Knights of Columbus.

Work on the building began in April, as interior walls were gutted, along with all of the 1958 building’s insulation and its electrical, heating/cooling, plumbing, lighting and mechanical systems. “All the building systems were worn out, and it was actually less expensive to take everything out and replace it with new,” says Carl Petchik, CUA’s executive director of facilities operations.

The funding of this renovation is the latest example of the historically close ties between the Knights of Columbus and CUA — a relationship which began in the early 1900s with the organization’s $500,000 grant to endow graduate studies fellowships at the university. With 1.7 million members, the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization and supports the Church with education programs, civic involvement and aid to those in need.

“So much of what CUA is today is the result of the generosity and support of the Knights of Columbus,” said Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., CUA president, after the gift was announced in 2006. “I could not begin to express my gratitude adequately to Carl Anderson, supreme knight, and to all the knights for this transforming gift. The newly renovated and newly named McGivney Hall will be an enduring testimony to these wonderful Catholic men and their families.”

  A sign facing CUA's mall tells the story of the Keane-McGivney renovation.
“The renovation is exciting because it is breathing new life into a building at the center of campus that has been vacant for more than a decade, a building that people see when going to the Shrine, Gibbons Hall, Mullen Library or McMahon Hall,” adds Richard Weil, CUA’s senior project manager for facilities, planning and construction.

McGivney Hall’s classrooms and auditorium are slated for academic use. In addition, the building will house the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family — which currently is located in Theological College, CUA’s seminary. The John Paul II Institute is a graduate school of theology affiliated with CUA and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

The building has five floors, with a total square footage of 35,000. The ground floor will house four classrooms. The first floor will mostly be taken up by the 120-seat Keane Auditorium. The second and third floors will house administrative offices. The 7,000 square feet of the basement will remain undeveloped for the present time, allowing room for future growth.

The university now is considering bids from construction companies, one of which will be hired to begin work this June. New electrical, heating/cooling, plumbing, lighting and fire-protection systems will be added, as will new interior walls, making the facility into a state-of-the-art classroom and office building. The auditorium and classrooms will each be equipped as “smart classrooms,” with screens to display images from PowerPoint slides or other media. The exterior façade of the building will need less work: just a good cleaning and the installation of energy-conserving windows.

When first built, the building was the Keane Physics Research Center and housed CUA’s physics department until the construction of Hannan Hall in 1987. After that, Keane housed part of CUA’s law school until the opening of the new law school building in 1994. Keane has been used for storage since 1995.

The edifice was originally named after Bishop John Joseph Keane, who served as CUA’s first rector from 1888 to 1896 (and in 1900 became archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa). The renovated building will be renamed after Rev. Michael J. McGivney, who founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882. The legacy of Archbishop Keane will continue at CUA, however, in the Keane Auditorium within McGivney Hall and in the John Joseph Keane University Professorship, established by the CUA Board of Trustees in 2006 and currently held by Father O’Connell, CUA’s president.

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Last Revised 01-May-07 11:43 AM.