Mussallems' $9M Gift Sets Foundation for Student Union Expansion

Friday, May 27, 2016
Hulman Union Expansion

Expanding Student Services: The addition of 19,010 square feet and remodeled space in the Hulman Memorial Student Union signals a new period for Rose-Hulman's growth, according to President Jim Conwell.

Rose-Hulman has broken ground on a $25 million expansion and renovation of the institute's student union, supported by a $9 million lead gift from Linda and Mike Mussallem.

The project, beginning on June 1, will include the addition of 19,010 square feet and remodeled space within the existing 84,900-square-foot student center. New features for the renovated facility will be:

  • Expanded student lounge spaces ("The Living Room"), with a coffee/smoothie bar and new café that features a kitchen where chefs will demonstrate the preparation of healthy meals
  • New outdoor patio and gathering spaces, including conversion of a campus pond into a new "campus green" area
  • New main dining room, new 120-person dining/meeting space, and expanded faculty/staff dining room
  • New state-of-the art spaces for the Office of Corporate Engagement
  • New and refurbished conference rooms, with high quality audio/visual technology

Rose-Hulman President Jim Conwell says the expanded Hulman Memorial Student Union signals a new period for Rose-Hulman's growth, and will serve as a centerpiece for student living and campus life.

"The facilities that will be built and improved upon will become a vibrant campus hub," he says. "At the same time, the new Student Union will help our students balance their academic and social experiences, and develop healthy eating habits."

Erik Hayes, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, notes that students have expressed their desire for better spaces on campus for social activities, and places where they can gather away from the demands of their academic pursuits.

"We're committed to creating an exceptional experience for our students," he says. "The most important gain is not about building's features, amenities, and architecture; it's about the culture that we're building, the opportunities we're creating for a better quality of life, stronger relationships, and healthier options. We're not just building a building, we're creating greater camaraderie."

Rose-Hulman recently announced plans to change campus food service providers on June 1 to Bon Appétit, a company providing fresh-cooked, on-site, restaurant-quality food made from scratch by chefs. Its clients include universities, corporations, museums, and specialty venues. Known for its Farm to Fork program, featuring products from local farmers, the California-based company has been named a Most Innovative Company in Food by Fast Company, and four of its university clients were on the Princeton Review's recent Best College Food list.

Mike Linda Mussallem

Leading The Way: Mike and Linda Mussallem are helping provide Rose-Hulman students with a beautiful new student center venue, which will create community and empower positive health habits.

The Mussallems' gift was motivated by the couple's desire to make a positive impact on student health at Rose-Hulman. Mike Mussallem is a 1974 chemical engineering alumnus who is chairman and chief executive officer of California-based Edwards Lifesciences. He received an honorary degree from Rose-Hulman in 1999 and was the featured speaker at the college's 2015 commencement.

"We know that students come to Rose-Hulman for the opportunity to work closely with talented faculty, and pursue studies that will provide them with meaningful and fulfilling career opportunities," remarks the Mussallems in a joint statement. "With our gift, we hope to broaden students' understanding of nutrition and provide them with healthy food choices to encourage their well-being and success. We're pleased to be able to help Rose-Hulman provide students with a beautiful new venue, which will create community and empower positive health habits for the future."

Conwell says the Mussallems' gift will enable Rose-Hulman to achieve a long-range strategic goal of enhancing student facilities across campus to meet emerging needs.

"We are committed to maintaining our national reputation for excellence, and are very appreciative that the Mussallems share our vision to provide leading facilities for students and other members of the campus community," remarks the president.

The project is scheduled to be completed by September of 2018. It was designed by Ratio Architects, Inc. of Indianapolis. Garmong Construction of Terre Haute will be managing the project's construction, assisted by a variety of local contractors.

Rob Coons, Rose-Hulman's senior vice president and chief administrative officer, notes that elements of the student center's design features will be visible across campus.

"This expansion will enhance the visual appeal of our campus, in both interior and exterior spaces. With its park-like setting and new green spaces, as well as its impressive architecture, it will be a welcoming beacon," he says.