Center For The Dominican Experience Eyes Groundbreaking

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For almost 60 years, Dominican University of California’s Archbishop Alemany Library has occupied a prominent and central location on campus. This summer, construction will begin to develop within the building a dynamic academic and social hub that will enhance connections and collaboration between Dominican’s tight-knit community of students, faculty, and staff.

Dominican President Nicola Pitchford announced on March 22 that the University has raised $5.7 million toward a $7.9 million goal to build the Center for the Dominican Experience within the existing library. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on May 12.

When it opens in late Spring 2023, the two-story facility will incorporate centralized student service offices, smart classrooms, conference rooms, a digital portfolio lab, a spacious learning commons and art gallery, and a new outdoor learning plaza. Interior glass walls will let light pour into the center of the building, and a new entrance on the south side of the building will connect the residence halls to Dominican’s academic core.

“This groundbreaking represents more than a decade of focused planning and innovation around a clear purpose: delivering Dominican students the very best, most accessible, most inclusive, most integrated, most holistic college experience we can,” President Pitchford said. “I’m so grateful to our donors and this inspiring community.”

The building will be home to the Dominican Experience, the University’s nationally-recognized educational model that facilitates social mobility through equitable access to connections and experiences for all students, regardless of background or social capital.

“The Center will be an architectural incarnation of the Dominican Experience, hosting meetings with integrative coaches and mentors, providing space for group projects, and putting all student services at arm’s reach,” President Pitchford said. “Above all, it will be a place for building community – welcoming students, faculty, staff, and community partners to gather at the heart of our campus.”

The Dominican Experience is rooted in well-established research demonstrating the benefits of engagement in high-impact practices that deliver a network of full support to nurture deep learning and achievement. The Dominican Experience integrates curriculum with a fully coordinated system of academic advising, career and internship services, global study opportunities, community service projects, faculty-mentored research, and a digital portfolio that will serve as an electronic resume.

The success of the Dominican Experience is evident in the University’s recent measures of student enrollment and achievement. Since Fall 2011, the percentage of undergraduate students of color, particularly Asian American and Latinx, has increased by nearly 30%. In this same period, graduation rates for first-time first-year students have improved by more than 70%. The four-year graduation rate is 72% and six-year is 74%, well above the national averages of 41% and 60%.

“Outcomes for diverse Dominican students remain exceptionally strong after graduation, in terms of initial earnings and lifetime economic mobility – as well as the less measurable outcomes of lifelong learning, life satisfaction, community contributions, and creativity,” President Pitchford said.

The Center for the Dominican Experience groundbreaking was announced during a March 22 campus gathering, part of the annual “All In For Dominican” fundraising event. Students were invited to contribute items for a time capsule, which will be installed in the Center for the Dominican Experience and opened at the Class of 2022’s 50th reunion. Photographs of the students holding their items will be used as an art illustration placed around the building during the nine-month construction.

The  “All In For Dominican” campaign raised $178,148 from 621 donors in 24 hours around the AllInFest.

The Dominican Experience

Integrative Coaching Community Engagement Signature Work Digital Portfolio
The Dominican Experience allows you to work with a coach, complete a signature work, build a digital portfolio and engage with the community. What will your experience look like?

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