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Seton Hill University’s new Health Sciences Center will be named in honor of President Emerita JoAnne Boyle, Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees Michele Ridge announced during a groundbreaking ceremony today.

The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center will serve students and faculty in Seton Hill’s Division of Natural and Health Sciences.

“JoAnne Boyle was such a courageous leader for Seton Hill. Her tenure was marked by the addition of programs of national prominence, including the LECOM at Seton Hill pre-med opportunity, the University’s highly ranked physician assistant program and most recently, the Center for Orthodontics,” Ridge said. “No other building represents better JoAnne Boyle’s vision for educating healthcare workers and physicians. We know the naming of this facility for JoAnne will honor her enduring legacy in a powerful way.”

“This is an exciting day as we proceed with an important strategic building project for the University that is grounded in our mission and the unmet and growing need for healthcare service in the region,” said Seton Hill Interim President Bibiana Boerio. “From the beginning excellence in science education has been a Seton Hill hallmark. The health sciences today continue to represent some of Seton Hill’s strongest academic programs. The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center will help Seton Hill University ascend to a new era of distinction.”

"I can think of no better way to crown a 25 year career as president, decades as an educator and years as a student than to name a building in her honor," President Emerita Boyle's son, John W. Boyle, said during the groundbreaking.

President Emerita Boyle retired in June after 25 years as president of Seton Hill University. She led Seton Hill’s strategic planning process that has been guided by addressing the region’s needs.

The critical need for well-educated health care professionals has been at the forefront of thought for more than a decade as Seton Hill built strong partnerships and enhanced its curriculum to meet those needs. New programs of national prominence, including the Physician Assistant program and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) pre-med opportunity at Seton Hill, have helped increase enrollment in the health sciences by more than 100 percent.

More than 500 students, and more than 35 percent of the freshman class, are enrolled in Seton Hill’s core programs of excellence, particularly in pre-med, physician assistant, biology, chemistry, dietetics and nutrition.

“This growth is tied to Seton Hill’s commitment to teaching real world science,” said Sister Susan Yochum, S.C., Professor and Chair of the Division of Natural and Health Sciences. Seton Hill is continually examining ways to provide programs of study that will increase students’ marketability in scientific careers. We emphasize hands-on interdisciplinary learning and close faculty-student collaboration. Seton Hill is pleased to be in the forefront of regional efforts to train the healthcare professors and scientific innovators of the future.”

The significant increase in enrollment in those programs—and the highly qualified students who graduate from those programs and stay and work in this region—is making an impact on the number of healthcare workers serving our communities.

To accommodate the interest, growth and needs of the health sciences programs, Seton Hill will construct The JoAnne Boyle Health Sciences Center located on the University’s main hilltop campus, adjacent to the current science building, Lynch Hall.

“The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center will help ensure that our students are well prepared for graduate study, research and careers in science and healthcare,” Ridge said.

The Center will include examination rooms, classrooms, laboratories and office space for the University’s Physician Assistant program as well as new full technology laboratories and classrooms for undergraduate teaching, learning and research.

Seton Hill’s pre-med program will benefit from the new facility. The University has 25 reserved pre-med slots each year for Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) at Seton Hill. Students in this program can earn their undergraduate degrees from Seton Hill and their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from LECOM at Seton Hill in seven years instead of eight.

Seton Hill students and faculty find enlightenment through the sciences. Their study will be enhanced by the Health Sciences Center as they examine lung cancer cells in laboratories through a grant from the National Science Foundation; research phages—novel viruses that infect bacteria—by digging them from soil and isolating their DNA to help the Howard Hughes Medical Institute understand the relationships between viruses and their hosts; and work on a national study with the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and others on results of lifestyle choices in young adults of college age.

The $21.5 million project includes the renovation of Lynch Hall and the new construction of the 51,592 square-foot JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center. The two buildings will have open connections on the second and third levels.

Designed by architects MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni, the Center features a curved three-story glass atrium that will provide energy savings for Seton Hill as it uses the sun as a source of heat and natural light. P.J. Dick Corporation will serve as construction manager. The Center will be completed in late 2015.

Community leaders have already found the project to be important for the region. Earlier this year, The Richard King Mellon Foundation awarded a $7 million grant to Seton Hill toward the construction costs of the Health Sciences Center. This commitment, the largest ever received in the University’s history, along with a $1.5 million gift from The Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, a $750,000 gift from an anonymous donor, a $500,000 gift from E. Ronald Salvitti, M.D. and more than $3 million from Trustees, alumni and friends, is among the $17.7 million raised to date for the JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center.

More than $47.5 million has been committed to Seton Hill University’s $75 million plan for campus expansion and renewal, which features new construction and campus facility improvements. The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center and the Dance and Visual Arts Center, which will be built in downtown Greensburg, are the most recent projects in the expansion plan. Recent completed projects include: the Performing Arts Center in downtown Greensburg; the historic Welty House; renewed on-campus dining facilities; construction of additional parking lots to accommodate Seton Hill’s growing student population; investment in technology initiatives; new turf fields for athletics; renovations to Lynch Science Hall and historic campus buildings.

The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center also adds to Seton Hill’s growing role in the economy of the City of Greensburg, which has led to economic development in the past decade that has been conservatively estimated at $130 million. This investment includes the construction of Seton Hill’s Performing Arts Center in downtown Greensburg, the addition of LECOM on the Seton Hill campus, improved student housing in Greensburg and the University’s investment in renovating the historic Welty House along with new restaurants, office buildings and other commercial ventures in Greensburg.