On Wednesday, November 12, 2014, members of the Saint Joseph’s community huddled outside on a chilly fall evening and watched years of planning come to fruition as President Jim Dlugos set the College’s brand new fire pit aflame. Initially conceived as the Alumni Association’s inauguration gift to the president, the project evolved to become a shared venture between alumni, students, and administration, and a symbol for the community President Dlugos has made it his goal to strengthen.
“The fire pit really speaks to the commitment of excellence I’ve seen take shape since President Dlugos arrived, and I think this is a fantastic representation of the direction the College is headed in,” said Ellis Baum ’98, chair of the Alumni Board, at the start of the dedication. The Alumni Association allocated funds for the fire pit, with additional funds coming from the College and the Student Government Association (SGA). The president of SGA, Ethan Rettew ’15, was also on hand at the ceremony, bearing an armful of wooden paint sticks that Saint Joseph’s students had signed during the days leading to the opening event. In honor of SGA’s role in creating the fire pit, the sticks were symbolically tossed into the fire for the first burn.
“Having the project completed lets students know that President Dlugos and the administration want the campus to continue to improve,” Rettew said. At the dedication ceremony, President Dlugos thanked all those involved, praising the teamwork between students and alumni and voicing his desire that the fire pit continues to bring members of the College community together through its use.
“We decided to make this a traditional fire pit so that part of the activity is gathering and building the fire, and then tending to it,” Dlugos said at the dedication. “It connects us with one of the oldest impulses in humankind: gathering around the fire to tell stories. It’s a place to celebrate community, to engage in fellowship.”