Villa Maria College has broken ground on a new $1 million dining hall, thanks to a significant donation from local restauranteur, civic leader, and philanthropist, Russell J. Salvatore. Salvatore’s gift is considered the largest single gift in the history of the college.
The goal of the capital improvement project is to renovate the 61-year-old dining hall, into what will soon be called The Russell J. Salvatore Commons.
“Mr. Salvatore’s gift is the single largest in the College’s history. We are grateful for his commitment to Villa Maria and excited for what this improvement will do to our campus community,” said Dr. Matthew Giordano, president, Villa Maria College. “The dining hall has been the heart of Villa Maria for six decades and its renovation is long overdue. We collectively thank Mr. Salvatore for making this possible.”
Once open, the 10,000 square foot Russell J. Salvatore Commons dining hall will be a place for students to gather and socialize, while providing both modern and innovative amenities for students.
The donation by Salvatore is one of many that he has given to numerous local organizations over the years.
“I love giving. I’m thrilled to be able to make such an impact at Villa Maria, an institution central to the fabric of Western New York,” said Russell J. Salvatore. “I’ve always said that when I die, I hope to have nothing left, to have given it all away. Nothing makes me happier than enabling impactful projects in our community. I’m proud to support Villa Maria.”
The Russell J. Salvatore Commons will be available for students, faculty, and staff, to eat, study, and fraternize.
Highlights of the Commons include:
- Study booths that allow students to focus on their coursework in a shared space
- Video game area where students can unwind by plugging in console gaming, laptops, or watch TV
- Recreational area with ping pong and pool that allows students to bond and encourages camaraderie
- A variety of seating styles and options for small and large groups, including couches, lounge chairs, ottomans, and more
- Special attention was given to the room’s acoustics to accommodate all types of student projects and events
- Foliage that creates a calm, serene, and beautiful environment and helps people to stay focused, productive, and energized
- Large, state-of-the art message board to share important campus information and publicize upcoming events
- The addition of the Spirit Shop, where College apparel and basic supplies can be purchased conveniently
The project is anticipated to be completed ahead of the Fall 2022 semester.
For more information about Villa Maria College’s dining hall renovation, please visit www.villa.edu/commons.