Saint Joseph's College to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of the Halleck Student Center

September 6, 2012

SJC will celebrate the anniversary of a historic moment. September 13, 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower laying the Halleck Student Center cornerstone.

Prior to laying the cornerstone with the accompaniment of Fr. Raphael Gross, C.PP.S. '40, then-President of the College, and U.S. Representative Charles Halleck, Eisenhower addressed a crowd of nearly 3,000 people. That evening, a Republican Party rally was held on campus attended by an estimated crowd of 25,000 people. President and Mrs. Eisenhower were among the first Fellows of the College.

Dr. John Egan, retired Professor of Music at SJC, was in his first summer at the College at the time of the visit. The Glee Club performed at the ceremony, and it was Egan's first time directing the group.

"It was a mob atmosphere to say the least," said Egan. "It was certainly one of the grandest events I have experienced at the College. It was truly a pleasure to have the former president of the United States on campus, and I know it was a special moment for Charles Halleck. He told me many times that Eisenhower was his favorite president."

Fr. Leonard Kostka, C.PP.S. '35, was also present for the ceremony.

"I don't recall there ever being a greater crowd on our campus," said Fr. Kostka. "It was a wonderful occasion. It was, and still is, the only time one of the presidents has visited the College."

To celebrate the occasion, "birthday cake" and punch will be served 11:00 am - 1:00 pm CDT in the Halleck Student Center Cafeteria. Also, a video of professional artist Nancy Lynch recalling the process of her painting the twelve murals around the Halleck Student Center Ballroom can be viewed at The murals detail several important moments in the College's history. Lynch worked closely with student artists and Fr. Dominic Gerlach, C.PP.S. '46, former archivist and historian at SJC.

Saint Joseph's College, named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation and a "best Midwestern college" by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 34 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of 1,100 students.

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