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May 18, 2021

Roberts Breaks Ground on $15 Million Golisano Community Engagement Center to “Connect the Community”


Roberts Wesleyan College and community leaders used branded shovels today as they broke ground on the Golisano Community Engagement Center. “Let’s break ground to connect the community!” President Deana L. Porterfield exclaimed as shovels went into the ground where the 25,000-square-foot, two-story center will be housed on the north side of the Roberts campus. Construction will kick off immediately and is expected to take 14 months. The official grand opening for the Golisano Community Engagement Center is anticipated to happen in summer 2022 for the start of the 2022-23 academic year. (Photo caption (Left to Right): Rich Greer, Emerson Fullwood, Steve Bovee, Caleigh Hitchcock, President Deana L. Porterfield ,Kip Palmer, Nelson Leenhouts, Dave Beinetti, Gay Lenhard and Adam Bello)

Deana Porterfield

“It is tremendously exciting to mark this important moment in our community,” President Deana L. Porterfield said. “The Golisano Community Engagement Center has been greatly needed and anticipated for years, so to begin construction on our campus is the realization of a dream come true. I am so thankful for the generosity of Tom Golisano, our alumni, donors and friends, so eager to watch this beautiful facility being built, and so very grateful to God for the blessing it will be in the lives of our students, faculty, staff and those we serve in the Greater Rochester community.”


Once complete, the Golisano Community Engagement Center will serve as a hub for connection, collaboration and student life resources, serving as the first building on campus to provide centralized meeting spaces and community interaction opportunities for all students.


The state-of-the-art building designed by SWBR will also function as a workplace for Roberts’ growing custom training and education programs, such as its Community Institutes, which provide custom educational solutions and resources to Rochester-area businesses and organizations seeking affordable, real-world learning experiences and insight. It will serve as the college’s new north campus entrance.

The first phase of the Connect the Community campaign was initiated in August 2019 with a $7.5 million gift from Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano to build the innovative new Community Engagement Center. The gift is the largest in Roberts Wesleyan’s 155-year history. The remaining capital is being funded by major donors and partners. The college hosted several events with donors, friends of the college, alumni and community leaders over the past two years as part of the college’s Connect the Community campaign. To date, $11,252,388 million of the $15 million goal has been raised for the center and fundraising will continue until completion.

Given the pandemic, the event was livestreamed for those who were unable to attend in person. Details will become available as construction progress is made and a formal invitation will follow in 2022 for the grand opening ceremony for the Golisano Community Engagement Center.

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