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Xavier Magazine | August 22, 2017

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Learning Commons honor Mike Conaton

Xavier University’s new Learning Commons is being named in honor of Michael J. Conaton, a 1955 graduate, former acting president of the University, chairman of the board of trustees from 1985-2004 and current board member. The naming of the building came about through a request by 1960 graduate Charles P. Gallagher, whose generous gift is helping build the building. Rather than naming it after himself, Gallagher requested the building be named after Conaton as a means of honoring his longtime support of the University.

“I was honored to be given the naming right and it was a simple decision,” says Gallagher. “Mike Conaton and [the late] Father [James] Hoff had a vision for moving Xavier forward, a vision that we are seeing come true today.”

“I am truly grateful and humbled by this honor,” says Conaton.

Conaton is retired Vice Chairman of the Midland Co. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Xavier University and was later awarded both the Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa and the Paul L. O’Connor Leadership Award for his contributions to the University.

“Mike is truly a man for others,” says Xavier President Michael J. Graham, S.J. “He is an example of the type of person we want our alumni to become—someone who uses his gifts and talents to make the world a better place.”

Gallagher is also a longtime Xavier supporter. His $9 million matching gift helped build the $18 million Gallagher Student Center in 2002. He also sponsors a scholarship program known as the Pacesetter Program that helps underwrite the education of 40 inner-city students from his alma maters, St. Martin de Porres and Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio.

“When you get right down to it, Charlie’s shoulders are some of the shoulders upon which the future of Xavier University is being built,” says Graham. “We are a better institution because of Charlie’s contributions and extremely grateful for his commitment and generosity to Xavier.”

The multi-faceted Conaton Learning Commons is a one-stop shop of integrated academic, technical and professional services, and a collaborative setting for classroom and spontaneous learning that includes the:

  • Center for Teaching Excellence, a professional development facility and support unit to assist faculty in enhancing teaching, scholarship and research through new and emerging methods and technologies.
  • Center for Student Excellence, which provides students a central point of academic support and services to help them attain excellence in their academic endeavors and career preparation.
  • Eigel Center for Community Engaged Learning, which builds on Xavier’s history of community service by creating more deliberate and strategic community engagement and service learning opportunities.
  • Conway Institute for Jesuit Education, which assists faculty in further incorporating the University’s Catholic and Jesuit character into the learning environment, providing a deeper context for a creative and intelligent engagement with questions of ethics, moral principles and social values.
  • Information Resources Center, which is a one-stop location for information and support services for students and faculty.
  • Magis Plaza, which serves as a center point of connection and collaboration for the entire Learning Commons.

The Conaton Learning Commons is part of a larger campus construction project known as the James E. Hoff, S.J., Academic Quadrangle, which also includes a new state-of-the-art Williams College of Business and a new central utility plant. The total cost of the Quad is estimated at $100 million.

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