In front of a capacity crowd of more than 500 guests, Manhattan College officially dedicated the Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons, in honor of the former New York police commissioner and one of the College’s most renowned and respected alumni.
“It is truly an experience of a lifetime to be here for the official opening of the Raymond W. Kelly Student Commons. It’s difficult to describe the feeling of having a building on campus of this outstanding educational institution named after you and what a truly beautiful structure it is,” Kelly stated. “It is a resounding testament to the vitality of Manhattan College. It would not have been possible without the outstanding philanthropy of Tom O’Malley and his wife, Mary Alice.”
The 70,000-square-foot building serves as the new crossroads of campus, linking the north and south parts of campus. A true community space, the Kelly Student Commons significantly enhances the College’s ability to integrate academics and student life programming, and provides space for fitness and wellness programming, dining, study, and cultural and community events.
“The great service that Commissioner Kelly has performed, for city and country, makes him a shining example of the best of our tradition,” said Brennan O’Donnell, president of Manhattan College. “And so it is indeed fitting that for generations to come, countless Manhattan College graduates will think of the Kelly Student Commons as a place where they discovered and learned to develop the talents and gifts that they, uniquely, have been given to share with the world.”
A number of alumni and local political leaders attended the event, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz.
“We owe [Kelly] a tremendous debt of gratitude as citizens of this city and this state,” Cuomo said. “His life is a testament to the virtue of service taught by the Christian brothers and a commitment to excellence. Manhattan College could not have chosen a better name than Raymond Kelly.”
“Manhattan College is a jewel of the Bronx and it is a fitting tribute that the college recognizes its illustrious alumnus, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly,” Klein said. “Each day students will see his name as they gather and it will serve as a constant reminder that personal integrity, sacrifice and leadership are among the highest virtues to strive for."
The student commons features include:
• The Center for Social Action and Service Learning: focuses on student volunteer and service-oriented activities with an aim to promote civility, nurture character and develop civic commitment in young people.
• The Multicultural Student Center: creates a home for the school’s diverse group of ethnic clubs while fostering awareness and understanding of differing cultural and social issues.
• The Wellness and Fitness Center: allows students to develop healthier lifestyles and establish lifelong habits of regular exercise and balanced nutrition.
• The Student Clubs/Organizations Headquarters: provides students with the opportunity to get involved in more than 60 groups ranging from Student Government, to the Economics and Finance Society, to Jazz Band.
Both Kelly and O’Donnell cited the leadership of former board chair Thomas O’Malley ’63, Commons Campaign co-chairs Kenneth Rathgeber ’70, Eugene McGrath ’65, Fred Salerno ’65 and Development Committee Chair Michael Regan ’63 in leading the fundraising efforts for the Kelly Commons.
“It is a unique honor for Mary Alice and I to contribute to Manhattan College and to recognize the most successful graduate of the class of 1963,” Thomas O’Malley ’63, former chairman, Manhattan College Board of Trustees said. “He is the man who best exemplifies the Lasallian spirit, which is to serve.”