A timeless vision makes a timely start as FPU breaks ground for Steinert Campus Center

Spades filled with earth fulfilled decades of promise as ground was broken October 26 for Steinert Campus Center at Fresno Pacific University.

Time has not dimmed the excitement and growth has only increased the demand for student and dining facilities, which have been talked about in some form or another since the 1970s. Those who led the efforts to mold dream into reality spoke only of success. “You forget about the frustrations,” said Marvin Steinert, who with wife Nadene made the major gift for the $5 million project. “We thank God for His faithfulness and hope we can be involved for many years to come.”

Ties between the Steinert family and the university are already many and long: Marvin Steinert was a board member 1971-81. Three sons—Max, Randall and Gary—are alumni, as well as five granddaughters—Allison, Jill, Kristine, Stephanie and Megan, now a senior. Max Steinert is assistant board treasurer, and he and his wife Charlotte donated funds for the new outdoor amphitheater to be located next to the center that will be east of Alumni Hall and west of the Special Events Center.

In all there were 50 major gifts to Steinert Center, said Mark Deffenbacher, vice president of advancement and university relations. “These are people who said, ‘This is how we want to identify with this campus.’,” he told the crowd of about 100 gathered for the groundbreaking.

The Steinert Center will contain general dining for students, faculty and staff as well as a separate dining for special events and a student lounge. A student development leadership center and office space for the student life division are also included. All building funds have been raised, and construction is set to begin in the spring of 2002. Occupancy is planned for one year later.

The aim of the single-story structure is to help the university achieve its mission to “prepare students for faithful and wise service through excellence in Christian higher education.” Preparing students means nourishing bodies, minds and spirits, so the center will provide places for students and faculty to nurture relationships and create the sense of community critical to an FPU education. A related effort along these lines is the conversion of Alumni Hall, the present dining area, to an expanded bookstore and coffeehouse.

Rod Reed, campus pastor and interim dean of students, praised the fact that the Steinert Center will allow the student life division, now located in four areas on campus, to consolidate into one. “This will help us as we seek to help students integrate faith and learning in all areas of life,” he said.

Speaking for students, Larkin Hand, president of the student body of Fresno Pacific College (the traditional undergraduate program), said she looked forward to meeting her colleagues from Fresno Pacific Graduate School and the Center for Degree Completion in the center. “This will be a wonderful place to come together,” she added.