The Fall 2018 Rome semester began with more pomp and circumstance than is normally afforded it, due to the inaugural opening of several major projects at the University of Dallas Due Santi campus.
Towards the end of 2015, changes in Italian zoning laws opened up the possibility to expand current structures at Due Santi, and UD took advantage of its chance.
“I made a proposition to the then-president and board of directors that this was an opportunity we couldn’t lose,” said Dr. Peter Hatlie, dean and director of the Due Santi campus. “We identified at that time five projects, and we’ve delivered on four of them.”
“The construction was largely done in the last year,” said Ben Gibbs, director of student affairs at Due Santi.
Additions include an annex onto the cafeteria, or Mensa, five new dorm rooms with a contained courtyard, a new soccer field at the bottom of the vineyard and an internal sidewalk from the Due Santi campus to the nearest intersection.The sidewalk keeps students from being forced to walk along a busy street.
“I’ve nearly been hit by a car every single time I’ve walked along that road,” said junior fall Romer Katie Groves.
The Mensa annex expanded the capacity of the cafeteria by 40 people, and the additions to the dorms allow for up to 15 more students to participate in the Rome program every semester.
According to Hatlie, the campaign created to fund these projects raised approximately $2.1 million and was sufficient to fund them without using any money from UD itself.
“There were many, many, many generous donors to the campaign,” said Gibbs.
The three cornerstone gifts of the campaign were made by Rick and Patty Stark, the Milligans, and the Barry and Kathy Clark in honor of their son, Zach Clark.
Zach Clark is a former UD student who cherished his time at Due Santi.
When Zach Clark tragically passed away, the Clarks donated a large sum for the creation of the new dorm rooms. The Clarks are the major benefactors to Clark Hall, which is also named in Zach Clark’s memory.
“We called the whole campaign ‘Tradition and Transformation,’ in a large part because the Rome program has such a phenomenal tradition here, but also it’s a very transformative experience for many, in Zach’s case especially,” Gibbs said.
In addition to these major projects, a scenic terrace across the vineyard from the dorms was constructed as a part of the safe passageway off-campus, as well as an ongoing project to transform the Mensa basement into a new fitness center.
“I think it was an investment definitely well made,” said junior fall Romer Thomas Mosemeyer. “[What] I find the most interesting, but reflect[s] well on UD itself … is that all of the additions directly impacted the lives of the students.”
“UD is just an excellent school, which is just slowly growing in reputation, and this was a great victory,” Hatlie said.