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FDU 'Downtown' Sparked by Million-Dollar Donation Opens

Ribbon cut on Monninger Center.

FDU has a new "downtown."

At a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday for the new Monninger Center, a learning and research center sparked by a million-dollar donation from John and Joan Monninger, the provost for Fairleigh Dickinson University's College at Florham said the building shifts the campus' center of gravity to what will be the campus' intellectual hub.

The John and Joan Monninger Center for Learning and Research has small group study rooms, a 100-seat auditorium, wireless Internet throughout, exhibit space, a coffee bar and plenty of seating for students and outlets to plug in laptops. It connects the historic Orangerie and existing library, which were renovated, with new construction.

The center will house research collections, and the school's academic support and writing centers.

"Today, I think we're opening a downtown," Peter Woolley, the provost, said in his remarks.

The building makes extensive use of natural light, high-efficiency heating and air conditioning units, and the university is working to have the building LEED-certified, officials said.

Sheldon Drucker, interim president of FDU, said the university's late president, J. Michael Adams, who died in June, saw the project as a symbol of transformation for the university, proving they not only had the ability to dream big, but to make the dreams happen.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held on May 31, 2011.

John and Joan Monninger's $1 million gift was followed by other million-dollar gifts, which started a capital campaign that ultimately raised tens of millions of dollars for the university. John Monninger, a 1965 FDU graduate, owned two car dealerships and is a former university trustee.

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