Forty years ago, the InterFaith Center of Geneseo opened its doors to provide students a welcoming place to explore their spirituality and space for worship to diverse religious groups.
The nonprofit center has continued its mission since 1969 and celebrates the 40th anniversary of the center’s dedication this year. On Wednesday, Nov. 4, staff, students and supporters are hosting a party during the All College Hour, 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. There’s an open house, speakers, special guests including past chairs of the center, music and refreshments. There is also a display in Milne Library, including vintage photos from the beginning years.
“It has been a wonderful asset for our students and really for the community,” says InterFaith Center Chair Joyce Wechsler, emerita associate professor, who taught in the School of Education for 29 years. She also coached women’s basketball and volleyball.
The InterFaith Center was born out of a desire of some Geneseo faculty and administrators, including former President Robert W. MacVittie, to provide students an opportunity to be with other students in a faith setting, and provide secondary support as they adjusted to living away from home, says Wechsler. A lot of fundraising drives, private donations and an interest-free loan from Geneseo resident Gertrude Chanler got the bricks and mortar going.
Currently, one Protestant group, one Catholic group and one Jewish group call the center home. The center also rents space to sororities and other campus groups for fundraisers, pasta nights and pancake breakfasts and other functions, as well as to the outside community.
“We try to make everyone comfortable here,” says Wechsler.
The center is financially separate from the college but thrives on the support of faculty and others who believe in the mission. Eight members of the center’s board members have faculty or staff ties to the college, says Wechsler.
Much has stayed the same over the past four decades, and there have been improvements. Two summers ago, the kitchen was expanded and renovated. The roof has been repaired. A new sign — now lit at night — has graced the front yard for a few months. Everything is paid through donations and from rental fees. Just as it was 40 years ago, volunteers are the backbone of the InterFaith Center.
“It was the center,” says Wechsler, “that the community built."
For more information about the 40th anniversary celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 4, including speakers, e-mail the center at email@example.com. The center is at 11 Franklin St.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The Geneseo Foundation recently elected David Turner '72 to its board of directors.
Turner is managing director and head of private equity for the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. He joined
“David Turner’s commitment to Geneseo is steadfast and we warmly welcome him to the board,” said Michael Catillaz, vice president for college advancement at Geneseo and executive director of the Geneseo Foundation. “He understands how a liberal education empowers students to face a changing world and we look forward to his expert guidance.”
As a geography student, Turner was also a member of the Chamber Singers. Turner has also led the development of the Chamber Singers Endowment Fund.
Parents will get a first-hand look at what campus life is like this weekend, attending tours, special events and classes.
More than 650 families attended last year's Parents Weekend events. President Christopher C. Dahl addresses families Saturday morning. At Parents College, visitors can attend workshops on topics like "Sabermetrics 101: An Introduction to Modern Baseball Statistics," "Cancer from a Biologist's Perspective" and a talk about creationism and evolution. There are also soccer games, a swim meet, a Late Knight ice-cream social, concert, student performances and a variety of activities Friday and Saturday.
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Photo of the week ... Have you taken a photo of campus or a picture that helps tell the story of the Geneseo experience? Send your snapshots to firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 21, 2009
IN OTHER NEWS:
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