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Welcome to the Damen Student Center

Couldn’t make it to the April 3 opening? Don’t worry. Here’s everything you need to know about Loyola’s new student center.

Damen Student Center Opening Activities

SOME SERIOUS SCISSORS Loyola student Amanda Levigne, who won a contest to cut the ribbon at the Damen Student Center opening, gets the party started on April 3. "The center is gorgeous," said Levigne, a biology major from Orland Park. "It's exactly what students need." At far left is Loyola President and CEO Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.

For more pictures

Go to our Flickr gallery to see even more photos from the grand opening. 

About the building  

Built on the site of the old Alumni Gym, the Damen Student Center has more than 100,000 square feet of usable space. How big is that? Big enough to hold more than 40 average-sized U.S. homes or 21 NCAA basketball courts.

The center has more than a dozen lounge spaces and conference rooms, ranging from small to, well, massive. The largest meeting room—the Sister Jean Hall—can hold up to 400 people for lectures.

If you’re hungry, the Damen Student Center has got you covered. It has a dining hall and a separate food court, which means you’re never more than a few feet away from a delicious meal.

Other highlights

  • A 35-foot climbing wall that is accessible from the Halas Sports Center and can be viewed from inside the student center.
  • A 125-seat theater for movie nights; the cinema also can be reserved for special events.
  • A gaming area with Wii, PlayStation, and Xbox 360 consoles, plus a library of games.
  • Ireland’s, a sports lounge on the lower level with pool tables and flat-screen TVs.
  • New Campus Ministry offices and separate worship spaces for different faiths.
  • New offices for several Student Development departments and other groups.

And it’s sustainable too

  • The center is designed to be LEED Silver-certified to conserve energy and be as environmentally friendly as possible.
  • High-efficiency fixtures help the center reduce its water use by up to 30 percent.
  • Half of the roof is devoted to green space to provide insulation and absorb rain.
  • ­An 80-foot by 40-foot skylight helps brighten the center and drive down lighting costs.
  • Natural ventilation throughout the center keeps air-conditioning use to a minimum.
  • During construction, three-fourths of the building waste was diverted from landfills.

They said it

“This is a place where student leadership can grow, where students can come together, and where we can fulfill our Loyola promise of educating the whole person.”

—Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president and CEO of Loyola

“The Damen Student Center transforms Loyola by uniting the Rambler family and giving students a place to thrive. This building will be the hub of social activity on campus.”

—Robert D. Kelly, PhD, vice president for Student Development

“This student center will transform our campus culture. From now on, we will know Loyola as so much more than an institution of higher education. We will know it as our home.”

—Julia Poirier, 22, graduating student body president

“It’s beautiful. I’ve been waiting a long time for this. It’ll be fun to finally have a place to watch movies and rock climb and just hang out.”

—Michael Russo, 21, a health systems
management major from Wheaton

“It’ll be a great space for so many different things. There’s so much more you can do here than any other building on campus.”

—Sanjana Kantayya, 18, an international studies
and pre-med major from Rockford

“It feels like we’re more connected to the University and all the other departments. It’s a lot more welcoming than where we used to be.”

—David Lewis, 20, a sophomore and director of day trips
for the Department of Programming

What’s in a name?

The new student center is named after Arnold J. Damen, S.J., who founded St. Ignatius College, the predecessor of Loyola University Chicago. The college opened in 1870 on the city’s West Side and narrowly escaped the Great Fire of 1871, which started just blocks away. As the University’s first president, Damen oversaw a faculty of four priests and a student body of 37 young men.

For more information

Visit the official Damen Student Center website and see the building through its various stages of construction.