Springfield College Will Dedicate New Stitzer YMCA CenterMay 18, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., May 18, 2011 -- Springfield College will dedicate the new Stitzer YMCA Center before an audience of YMCA leaders from around the nation, members of the Stitzer family, the campus community and the public on Thursday, May 19, 2011, at noon, in Judd Gymnasia, on the college campus.
Established through lead gifts from the Stitzer family, the Stitzer YMCA Center is a destination site for YMCA professionals and groups from around the world. It includes the national YMCA Hall of Fame, offices of the Association of YMCA Professionals (AYP), the Springfield College Office of YMCA Relations and facilities for YMCA meetings and other programs.
The new center is a focal point in Judd Gymnasia, the most historic building on the Springfield College campus, which was reopened after complete renovation in October 2010. The Victorian structure was refurbished to a state-of-the-art facility, while preserving its original character. Embedded in its 1894 exterior masonry is the logo of the YMCA Training School, a previous name of Springfield College.
Speaking for the Stitzer family, Todd Stitzer said, “The defining values of the YMCA, and of Springfield College as a premier educator of YMCA leaders, have profoundly influenced our family. It is our hope that this new center will help empower present and future YMCA professionals to maximize their potential in service to all members of our society. And, in honoring the visionaries who shaped the YMCA movement, it will perpetuate their principles.”
Springfield College President Richard B. Flynn said, “It is a proud moment to join with the Stitzer family as we advance more than a century of partnership between Springfield College and the YMCA movement. The facilities and services within the new Stitzer YMCA Center will enable us to build upon our history of educating future YMCA leaders, expand services to current YMCA professionals, and celebrate the shared ideals of the college, the Y and the Stitzer family. It is fitting that the new center is located in the oldest building on the campus, a landmark with significance to us all, and that we have been able to preserve and newly equip it for today’s programming.”
The Stitzer YMCA Center is a place for teaching, nurturing and inspiring present and future YMCA leaders and professionals. It is a site for lectures, research, meetings and networking for YMCA professionals from around the world.
The YMCA Hall of Fame, previously located elsewhere on campus, has been enhanced and relocated to the center. The hall honors leaders who have shaped the YMCA movement and includes web-based, interactive and interpretive features.
The center also houses the Springfield College Office of YMCA Relations. The office coordinates the college’s YMCA professional studies program and YMCA Club, and hosts national and international YMCA professional programs.
The Association of YMCA Professionals, located in the center, provides professional development and support programs for YMCA professionals nationally and through seven regional chapters.
Members of the Stitzer family attending the dedication include brothers Todd, Mark and Tim, whose father, Howard, was a lifetime YMCA professional. Todd and his wife Marenda met when they were first-year students at Springfield College. He has served the college as a corporator or board of trustees member since 1984. Tim Stitzer attended Springfield College and has been a longtime YMCA professional.
Also attending the dedication will be Neil Nicoll, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of the USA and a Springfield College graduate. Additional attendees will include other YMCA leaders and Springfield College alumni who are current and former YMCA employees.
Springfield College and the YMCA have had a long and collaborative history, while being separate and independent organizations. The college, founded in 1885, quickly emerged as an educator of YMCA leaders. Springfield College and the YMCA have an ongoing partnership agreement and the YMCA of the USA has named Springfield College a premier Leadership Development Center. YUSA also provides on-going support to the college’s Office of YMCA Relations.
Springfield College offers undergraduate programs to prepare students for YMCA careers, and maintains a matching scholarship program with YMCAs around the country for YMCA career-track students.
For current YMCA staff members, Springfield College’s School of Human Services offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs with weekend classes at the main campus and regional campuses around the country. Enrollment is also open to other human services workers.
Following the dedication ceremony, the college will conduct tours of the Stitzer YMCA Center. The newly renovated Judd Gymnasia, including the Stitzer YMCA Center, received the 2011 Paul E. Tsongas Award from Preservation Massachusetts earlier this month. The award recognizes Massachusetts colleges, universities and preparatory schools for preservation of their historic resources for the benefit of future generations of students.