Friday, September 29th a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Notre Dame’s Junior/Senior Highschool, 2 Notre Dame Lane, Utica, NY. The event was celebrated by the staff of the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce along with board, Ambassadors, and Catalyst to unveil the new Monsignor Francis J. Willenburg Center.
The building pays memorial tribute to Msgr. Willenburg, the beloved priest known throughout Central New York for decades as a devoted advocate for young people and fan for many area schools and sports teams. The state-of-the-art center is a multi-functional space featuring a lobby, separate entrance and handicap accessibility.
The original school building, founded in 1960, will now have a stage and an additional gymnasium featuring a regulation-size basketball court and bleachers, among other amenities. The Msgr. Willenburg Center will provide room for not only Notre Dame’s growing performing arts and athletic programs, but the community’s as well.
The project is a result of the successful and ongoing “Making Our Kids World Ready” capital campaign which provides funding for the building as well as an endowment fund to assist families with the expense of tuition. This year $50,000 in additional scholarship money will be awarded thanks to this continuing effort.
The unveiling celebration was officiated by the Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. Other local dignitaries were in attendance. The school band entertained the crowd playing many standard religious hymns in the new space.
The 2017 Darby scholarship students were present to celebrate the unveiling of the plaque commemorating the generosity of the The Dorothy Darby family in providing the financial means for so many young people to grow up with a Catholic education.
Chairman of the board, Mr. Jim Joseph, held up the smallest scholarship student, Mary, to perform the unveiling of the plaque, pictured above, after which a delicious luncheon was served to the many who had gathered for the celebration.