Zag Nation Unites on First National Gonzaga Day to Celebrate University’s Tradition, Transformation

January 24, 2013
President McCulloh Shares Special 
Message Regarding Gonzaga’s Future

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University supporters united in person and spirit today on the first-ever “National Gonzaga Day” to celebrate the University’s rich and living mission of Jesuit, Catholic education. Zags everywhere – from Spokane to New York City, and Washington, D.C. to Honolulu – gathered to celebrate “Tradition and Transformation,” Gonzaga’s 125th Anniversary theme, at 30 alumni gatherings nationwide plus events in Calgary, Alberta and Tokyo.

[Click the following link to view video and photos of all the National Gonzaga Day events at]

The University set off fireworks to mark the occasion.
Gonzaga set off fireworks after the game to mark the occasion.

“The next few years will bear witness to the continued transformation of Gonzaga into one of the nation’s great Jesuit liberal arts-based universities,” President McCulloh said. “As a visible sign of support for this vision, Gonzaga has received a major gift commitment – one that allows us to reimagine current learning facilities and move into the design phase of the long-awaited and much-needed new University Center.”

President McCulloh thanked Zags everywhere on National Gonzaga Day for their generous support, and underscored Gonzaga’s proud tradition and bright future.

“Clearly, the commitment to Gonzaga University’s spirit of tradition is alive and well. Your sustained support will ensure Gonzaga’s transformation will continue unabated toward our shared goals to make Gonzaga an exemplar of Catholic and Jesuit higher education worldwide,” he said.

President McCulloh shared news of the gift and the emerging vision for the new University Center at halftime of the nationally televised Gonzaga vs. Brigham Young University men’s basketball game in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The gift commitment allows Gonzaga to begin planning for replacement of the 58-year-old student dining facility known as the “COG,” at Desmet Avenue and Dakota Street. Plans for the University Center will be presented to the Gonzaga Board of Trustees in April. Pending approval and continued fundraising success, the project will begin in the near future. The benefactor has requested anonymity at this time.

President McCulloh’s remarks, broadcast live online at (where it will be archived), came approximately midway during Gonzaga’s 125th Anniversary Celebration, a yearlong series of special events. Anglican Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu launched the celebration May 13 (2012), when he delivered the commencement address. The celebration has also featured internationally renowned speakers, such as three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Thomas L. Friedman (Sept. 4), and acclaimed educational creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson (Oct. 17). Famed primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall is next, scheduled to speak at Gonzaga on April 9.

“We have asked that the design features of the building and the manner of its construction actually teach those who use it,” President McCulloh said. “Our vision is that this facility will inspire excellence, promote contemplation and lifelong learning, and model for all who use it what a truly integrated, 21st century Jesuit higher education experience looks and feels like.”

The facility is envisioned as a technology-driven environment that facilitates a truly world-class integrated student experience. It will support student activities ranging from clubs and organizations to study and dining services, University Ministry, student publications and service-learning. The Center is projected to be approximately 165,000 gross square feet and will be built in the space currently occupied by the COG and its adjacent parking lot. Its design will reflect emphases in digital literacy, global engagement, and environmental sustainability. The building will incorporate an 800-seat multipurpose ballroom, a 200-seat auditorium, generous meeting and open spaces for multiple user groups, a pub/café, and much more. It will be constructed with a focused commitment to sustainable building practices.

Hoffman Construction, with offices in Portland, Ore., is the general contractor. Opsis Architecture, of Portland, is the lead design firm along with Bernardo-Wills Architects of Spokane.

Plans call for the COG, which also houses the University’s bookstore, to be demolished. Student dining would be moved temporarily to ground-floor flexible space in the four-story Boone Avenue Retail Center until the new University Center opens. The bookstore itself will relocate permanently to the BARC. Gonzaga began construction of the BARC last summer and it is expected to be ready for occupancy in June. The BARC occupies the block bounded by Hamilton and Cincinnati Streets and Desmet and Boone Avenues and will include parking for approximately 650 vehicles. Plans call for the ground floor of BARC to be leased retail space when the University Center opens.

Please direct questions or requests for interviews about the project to Mary Joan Hahn at (509) 313-6095 or via e-mail or Peter Tormey at (509) 313-6132 or via e-mail.