Trustees to Name Administration Building After Esteemed Alumna

June 9, 2009
By: Worcester State University News

The Worcester State College Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday night to name the newly renovated Administration Building in honor of the late Helen G. Shaughnessy, a beloved alumna and esteemed College professor and administrator, and its theatre for The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation.

“Not only is naming the Administration Building for Helen Shaughnessy the right thing to do, it is the only thing to do. There is great enthusiasm among our alumni and donors for this honor for Helen,” said President Janelle C. Ashley. “She took classes in this building, socialized with her friends in this building, taught and mentored countless Education students in this building, for over thirty years.”

Shaughnessy, a member of the Class of 1943, was an active and loyal member of the Worcester State College community for more than 60 years. President of her senior class, she subsequently enjoyed a notable career as an elementary school teacher, elementary supervisor, and WSC associate professor, administrator, Foundation Board member, and volunteer par excellence. Shaughnessy received an honorary doctorate degree in 1986, a Distinguished Alumni Award for Outstanding Service to Alma Mater in 1990, and was the 2003 Scholarship Tea honoree. She established an endowed scholarship for Education majors in 1999.

Pledges and gifts of over $1.2 million from Shaughnessy’s classmates, students, friends, and colleagues for this naming opportunity brought the proposal before the Trustees. More gifts and pledges in Shaughnessy’s memory are expected as part of College’s $10 million fundraising campaign, “Opportunity for a Lifetime: A Campaign for the Future of Worcester State College,” which ends next June.

A positive vote by the Trustees would also recognize The Fuller Foundation for a $500,000 grant it awarded in 2006 to renovate the theatre.

The Fuller Foundation’s grant helped Worcester State College prepare for a new Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual and Performing Arts. The grant was instrumental in preparation of a new Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual and Performing Arts. The grant covered the artistic renovations and equipment for a first-class, intimate theatre, while state funding was dedicated to “life and safety code” improvements throughout the Administration Building. First restored in 1999, this time much of the theatre’s backstage, backstage stairs, sound and light equipment, and scenic and costume shops were reconstructed or added. Theater classes will be held there beginning in the fall. “This grant is giving our theatre program a tremendous boost. Our theatre faculty can’t wait to begin teaching there again,” Ashley said.

The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation is a private independent foundation which supports nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations in Worcester and surrounding communities. The interests it supports include cultural organizations, area colleges, hospital and support agencies, recreation and youth development, and religious institutions.

“”Helen Shaugnessy exemplified excellence in everything she did,”  said George Tetler, Chair of the Worcester State College Board of Trustees. “We are very fortunate, as a board, to be able to celebrate and honor her memory in this way.”

Built in 1932 as Worcester State Teachers College, the Administration Building is the oldest building on WSC’s campus and was the only building there until 1958. The first floor has been converted to an “academic mall” housing many student services. The second and third floors will house administrative offices. The fourth floor will be the new location of the Department of Graduate and Continuing Education. The building will reopen in July and be fully operational by the start of the fall semester. Reoccupation of the building will begin in July, and it will be fully operational by the start of the fall semester.

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