December 07, 2022
Garvey Hall exterior

Garvey Hall, the new University dining commons, opened its doors on December 5 for breakfast to rave reviews. That evening, donors, alumni, students, and faculty, including former University President John Garvey, attended the dedication on University Lawn.

The nearly 35,000-square-foot building was named for Garvey and his wife, Jeanne Garvey, at the recommendation of an anonymous donor whose $8 million gift launched the project in fall 2019.

Members of the board of trustees, donors, University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick and former President Garvey spoke during the dedication, and a time lapse video was shown of the three-year construction of Garvey Hall.

Fr. Aquinas blessing the dining hall interior
The building was blessed by University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry Rev. Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P.

At the dedication ceremony, former President Garvey thanked the donors who made the new building possible. During his time at the University, he said he noticed that eating together was an important part of the campus community, but long lines and insufficient seating in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center meant many students took their food to eat in their rooms alone. 

“The (new) dining hall solves that problem,” Garvey said. “I think we are making the lives of our students healthier and happier. So thanks to all of you for making that happen and for the great honor of attaching our names to it.” 

Following the ceremony, attendees walked the short distance from University Lawn to dine in the new facility.

student serves herself food in Garvey Hall
Students fill their plates at the new Chopd & Wrapd station on opening day in Garvey Hall.

Garvey Hall’s larger kitchens and new cooking equipment mean a wider, fresher selection of food while the spacious 400-seat dining areas double the space in  the Pryzbyla Center’s Eatery. There are also three outdoor dining areas on the north and south sides. The building is the work of the Manhattan Construction Group and Perkins-Eastman Architects. 

At the dedication ceremony, President Kilpatrick reflected on his predecessor’s 12-year contribution to the vibrant community life at the University. He said Garvey Hall will add to the community growth. 

“We just have the joy of experiencing a community that’s second to none,” Dr. Kilpatrick said. “I believe that the most important learning that goes on at a university is not in the classroom, it’s in the conversations that students have with each other after hours over a meal about the most important things in their life."

President Kilpatrick mingling with students
University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick mingles with students during the opening day at Garvey Hall.

Approximately one-third of Garvey Hall’s cost was funded by private gifts. The 238-seat west dining room is named in honor of Rev. William Byron, S.J., University President from 1982 to 1992; the 91-seat Giessuebel Family Tower Dining Room is named after its donors; and the 131-seat east dining space is named for Willie Joyner, a beloved food services employee who has worked at the University for almost 50 years. 

Willie Joyner, University food services employee, shares a hug with former University President John Garvey.

Ed Gillespie, B.A. 1983, a former counselor to a president of the United States, worked with Joyner in the cafeteria while a student and spearheaded the naming decision to recognize her for “not just serving food for young stomachs but nourishing young souls with love.” 

“Long after she has retired, if she ever retires, Willie’s spirit will infuse that physical space, inspiring future staff to live up to her standards and future Cardinals to be worthy of her legacy of dedication to their health and happiness,” said Gillespie. 

 From left to right: Rev. Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P., University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry; Vincent N. Sica, a member of the Board of Trustees; Willie Joyner, University food services employee; University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick and Mary Jo Parrino, B.A. 1983.

Garvey Hall is also the new home of the Center for Academic and Career Success, formerly located in McMahon Hall. Situated on the lower level of the building, the space is named in honor of Jeanne Garvey. 

“This dramatically expands the Center,” said Scott Rembold, vice president for University Advancement. “It gives us a facility that is fully competitive and impressive to employers, and competitive with other universities.”

Senior Tony Crnkovich, president of the Student Government Association, who emceed the ceremony, said students are excited by the opening of the new dining hall that was built in the Collegiate Gothic style.

“I think something that all the students realize is that (Garvey Hall is) classy, and it adds this profound transcendental element to our education and it directs our eyes upwards and I think that's very fitting for what President Garvey did these past 12 years,” Crnkovich said.