Urban League chief to speak at St. John Fisher graduation

The outgoing president and CEO of the Urban League of Rochester, William G. Clark, will be the commencement speaker at St. John Fisher College during graduation ceremonies May 11.

Clark is a 1978 graduate of Fisher, having earned a bachelor’s degree in management there. He also holds an MBA with a concentration in accounting from Rochester Institute of Technology. At the commencement exercises, he will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the college.

William G. Clark
William G. Clark

Two other veterans of Rochester human services organizations will be honored at the graduation as well – the recently retired Hilda Rosario-Escher, past president and chief executive officer of Ibero American Action League, and A. Dirk Hightower, executive director of the Children’s Institute. They will receive President’s Medals.

“We are so pleased to honor Bill, Hilda, and Dirk – these community champions – for their strong leadership in our community, the commitment they have demonstrated in their respective roles, and the broad impact of their work,” said Fisher President Gerard J. Rooney. “We know our graduates will see in them people they would like to emulate in their lives after Fisher.”

Clark has served in several capacities – sometimes more than one at the same time — during his 37 years at the Urban League. He was appointed president and CEO in 1994.

Focusing on education, economic parity, housing and employment for African-Americans, Latinos, and disadvantaged residents, Urban League provides some 30 programs for youth, families, and adults.

Details of the graduation ceremonies are on the college’s website.

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Fisher wins grant to help furnish dormitory under construction

St. John Fisher has won a state grant of $145,000 to help furnish and equip a dormitory it is building with plans to open in fall 2019.

The grant came from the state’s Higher Education Capital (known as HECap) Matching Grant program and must be matched by three times the amount in the recipient’s spending. The grant helps pay for furnishings in the dorm rooms and in common areas, such as lounges and quiet study rooms. It will also have laundry and recycling facilities on each floor.

Total cost of the Upper Quad Residence Hall, located roughly in the center of campus where a parking lot used to be, is expected to be about $17 million.

Linda Steinkirchner, vice president for finance and chief financial officer, said the new dorm will allow the college to stop putting three freshmen in a room at times when the demand for housing incoming freshmen outstrips the availability of rooms.

“Our hope would be that in fall of  ’19, depending on enrollment, we don’t have students in triples anymore,” she said.

Built next to Keough Hall, the Upper Quad building will look similar to that 2005 dormitory. The new dorm will include a kitchen and also have common rooms and quiet study rooms. Laundry and recycling facilities will be on each of the three floors. The dorm will house about 150 students, mostly in doubles. Six singles meeting American Disability Act regulations also will be available for students who have medical or disability needs.

Steinkirchner said plans to build the dorm came out of the college’s strategic plan, which had urged the campus administration to invest in more housing.

“Over the last 15 years, the College has grown its academic offerings and invested in a number of academic facilities,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of Fisher. “We are proud to now have the opportunity to expand our student life spaces with the construction of this vibrant new residence hall.”

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