Walsh University will host a public open house from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday for its new global learning center.
NORTH CANTON Community members can tour Walsh University’s newest academic building this week.
The private Catholic university will host a public open house from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday for The Marlene and Joe Toot Global Learning Center, located along East Maple Street. An invitation-only dedication and blessing will be held earlier in the day for the building, named after Marlene Toot, a nutritionist who graduated from Walsh in 1985 and now serves as a member of the Walsh’s Board of Directors, and Joe Toot, a former Walsh trustee and retired president and chief executive officer of the Timken Co.
The $11.4 million learning center, which opened for classes Jan. 22, was funded by donor contributions to Walsh’s “We Believe” fundraising campaign that launched in 2012 and raised $32 million.
The Canton Repository recently toured the two-story, 44,000-square-foot facility with Brian Greenwell, vice president of administration and chief information officer, and Douglas Palmer, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Here are five unique features of the global learning center:
1. The James B. Renacci Forum & Center for Civic Engagement, located on the first floor, resembles more of a lounge than a classroom space with couches and chairs placed in a semi-circle in the main area. The center was designed to bring together students from different majors along with faculty and community members to meet and discuss solutions to local, regional and global issues, such as the opioid crisis.
The center also will be home to two new institutes: The Institute of Community Health, where faculty from physical therapy, nursing, business and education will work together to research solutions to issues such as access to health care, and the Food Design Institute, where faculty are addressing hunger in Stark County and are partnering with the city of Massillon to help Massillon become a hunger-free community. A third institute dedicated to studying civic engagement also is being developed. It will seek to promote a civil discourse on campus and in the community about political and public affairs issues.
The space also will pay tribute to its namesake, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, by featuring the Republican congressman’s personal papers, photographs and mementos documenting his years in public life.
2. A 16-by-13 digital media wall. Located in the atrium, the video wall showcases information about Walsh and its history, as well as the digital media projects that students are producing on campus and around the world. Three smaller screens beneath the media wall will be interactive touch-screens that will allow users to select what student-produced projects they want to view. The media wall also will be used during special events and speakers.
3. The St. Teresa of Calcutta Chapel. The religious space, named for the recently canonized saint who visited Walsh in 1982, includes a lock of St. Teresa’s hair placed under the altar and a restored tabernacle that originally was used by Walsh’s founders, the Brothers of Christian Instruction, but most recently had been kept in storage.
The chapel’s wooden cross was crafted by a Walsh physical therapy professor Mark Wilhelm from one of the maple trees that were planted by Walsh founder Dacian Barrette and growing outside Farrell Hall but had to be cut down to create space for a fire lane. New trees have been replanted on the campus. The chapel’s walls are adorned with stained glass windows that venerate St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Anne, St. John Vianney, St. Catherine of Bologna, St. Therese of Lisieux, Our Lady of Fatima and an image of the Blessed Sacrament exposed.
4. A mosaic of Walsh’s crest has been installed on the west end of the building and can be seen from East Maple Street.
The art piece was formed with roughly 500,000 Venetian mosaic tiles that were placed by hand by craftsmen Lonnie Tullos of Marchione Studios in Canton and Fabrizio Toneguzzo of Italy. The artwork was designed by Damien Marchione of Marchione Studios, which also designed the art mosaic for Walsh’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel. Marchione Studios also created the stained glass artwork that frames the door outside of the global learning center’s chapel.
5. Specialized labs and technology loaded classrooms. The learning center’s second floor features a lab that supports Walsh’s computer engineering, networking and cyber security majors, as well as the campus’ first all Mac computer lab for its graphic design students.
The Hyland Software Computer Engineering Lab, which includes networking racks and 20 computers, comes with the capability to be taken off the Walsh’s computer network to allow students to conduct hacking experiments and competitions without disrupting other areas of campus.
The second floor also features a video production studio and control room that will allow students to develop their own TV programs and documentaries while the first floor includes a recording and film editing studios and a media center that are equipped to allow students to create their own podcasts, websites and video and media productions. Starting with this year’s incoming freshmen class, Walsh students must produce a digital media project before graduation.
Reach Kelli at 330-580-8339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @kweirREP