GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Aquinas College has received a $3 million gift, the school’s largest single donation ever from individual living donors.
It was made in support of the renovation and expansion of the college’s new Gold LEED-certified Albertus Magnus Hall of Science, according to a news release Monday.
Longtime supporters Peter and Carolyn Sturrus of Grand Haven say they were drawn to the project by the opportunity to support science and faith-based education at the same time.
More than 15 years in the making, the expansion of Albertus Magnus Hall created space for new in-demand programs like biochemistry and molecular biology, data analytics, environmental studies, health science and geospatial technologies.
The atrium, which bridges the renovated portion of Albertus Hall and the new addition, will be named the Peter and Carolyn Sturrus Atrium.
The Sturrus Atrium connects the Peter M. Wege Wing, recognizing a donation from The Wege Foundation, with the Sister Mary Aquinas Weber, O.P. Wing, named by an anonymous gift to honor the college’s chancellor emerita.
“Albertus Magnus taught that religion and science are not mutually exclusive,” Peter Sturrus said. “That idea drew us to want to support this space for students in a significant way. Carolyn and I want to see more students have access to a solid, faith-based education. We also believe that our world will continue to be better as we make advances in science and technology. This project brought it together for us.”
The Sturrus gift supports the $58 million Contributing to More Comprehensive Campaign, which allowed the college to more than double the square footage of Albertus Hall for a total of more than 89,000 square feet.
“We are deeply honored and humbled by Peter and Carolyn’s extreme generosity,” Aquinas College President Kevin G. Quinn said. “At Aquinas, we believe in the development of the whole person, which resonates with Peter and Carolyn. The new science facility is transforming the way we serve our students. It is a point of pride for all Saints and a symbol of the future of Aquinas College.”
This is not the first major gift Aquinas has received from the Sturruses.
Back in 2008, they were lead donors for the construction of the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center.
The couple’s connection to the college goes back more than four decades, when Peter attended Aquinas as an adult learner, graduating in 1977 with a degree in business and going on to be the longtime president of Shape Corp in Grand Haven.
While Carolyn did not attend Aquinas, she has roots in higher education, serving as an assistant to several presidents of Muskegon Community College for more than 30 years.
“We feel joy and satisfaction in extending the arm of God’s love to students from all walks of life,” Carolyn said. “We believe if anyone has any inclination to give, there is no better cause than education.”