Tricounty News

Community Center at Saint John's named in honor of distinguished alumnus

Saint John's University has received a leadership gift commitment from members of the McKeown and Cullen families to name the new Community Center after alumnus Thomas W. McKeown '52. The 7,500 square foot environmentally designed McKeown Center, located in Flynntown, will open in August 2009.   "We are greatly honored that the McKeown and Cullen families have provided this leadership gift to Saint John's," said Dan Whalen, SJU interim president. "Since his graduation, Tom has amassed a remarkable history of service and support for Saint John's. We're delighted that his family has recognized Tom's 60 year relationship to Saint John's past and his faith in our future. I am certain that the McKeown Center will be a valued addition to our community and campus life for many years to come."   "Dad's legacy from his volunteer work in St. Paul is around community building," said Dan McKeown '85. "The McKeown Center is a perfect example of community building at SJU that completes the circle of Dad's decades of volunteering. Our father has set an example for all of us to serve others. This building symbolizes his six decades of service to the community of SJU."   Tom McKeown attended Saint John's Prep School and graduated from Saint John's University in 1952. He worked at Saint John's from 1955 to 1960 as director of university relations and was the first lay person to have that title. He is the 1993 recipient of the prestigious Fr. Walter Reger Distinguished Alumnus Award.   "Community has always been a core element of the Saint John's mission," said Michael Connolly, SJU dean of students. "The McKeown Center in Flynntown will be an example of the mission in action. The center will provide a gathering point for students on the lower campus and is designed as a destination point to help them strive academically and recreate casually with their fellow classmates."   McKeown is a former member of the Board of Regents and served as the chair from 1987 to 1992. He is also a past president of the Saint John's Alumni Board. He has served on the Board of Overseers of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at Saint John's and currently serves on the Board of Overseers of Saint John's School of Theology•Seminary.