Benedictine College Dedicates New Ferrell Academic Center

  • Monday, October 22, 2012

Atchison, Kan. - Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis declared that “from this day forward, let this building be lovingly known as Ferrell Academic Center” on Sunday, October 21, 2012, as a brass band played, the Benedictine Drum Corps pounded, fireworks flashed in the sky, and banners were unfurled from the new facility’s fourth floor balcony amidst a shower of confetti.  The grand finale capped off a morning of speeches from board members, a student leader, and capstone donors Jim and Elizabeth Ferrell that were all part of the dedication of the new academic building perched on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River.

“Throughout history, the Benedictines preserved western civilization and specifically were at the forefront of commerce, education, theology and philosophy,” Minnis said. “In fact, in the year 529, when Plato’s Academy was closed, St. Benedict founded his school and established the groundwork for the modern Catholic college and university system.  Therefore, it is appropriate that this building should contain the departments of business, education, theology and philosophy.”

The four-story, 56,000 square foot building is the first LEED-certified building (green) on a college or university campus in the state of Kansas.  The building project was a key component of the tremendously successful Investing in Excellence Campaign, which raised more than $70 million, doubled the college’s endowment, and raised the capital to build both the Ferrell Academic Center as well as Mary’s Grotto in the center of campus. Although Benedictine has been building residence halls to keep up with growing enrollment, there had been no academic construction since the 1960s when Westerman Hall and the College Library were built.  According to Minnis, the new Academic Center will provide the infrastructure necessary to meet current space needs while positioning Benedictine for future growth.

“A great Catholic college needs quality teaching space,” said Minnis.  “This new facility will serve as an enduring symbol of our commitment to academic excellence.”

The Ferrell Academic Center provides:
• A major upgrade for the School of Business and the Education Department, which encompass the college's most popular majors.
• The most state-of-the-art facilities in the nation for the Theology and Philosophy Departments.
• A focal point for the whole campus, and the larger Benedictine and Atchison communities, from its perch overlooking the Missouri River.
• Upgraded and expanded meeting and conferencing facilities.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top 20 colleges in the country by First Things magazine and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by the Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.  Benedictine College prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.