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Post Learning Commons Opens Doors to Infinite Possibilities

John R. ’60 and Maryanne Post

John R. ’60 and Maryanne Post

John R. Post ’60 credits Saint Joseph’s University and the Ignatian-based undergraduate education he received for instilling the values that contributed to his personal and professional success as the founder of Post Precision Castings.

Coming to Hawk Hill from Reading, Pa., as a young man, Post underwent a transformational education steeped in service, ethical decision making and the greater good. “Prior to my Jesuit education at SJU, my life was empty, and now it’s filled to overflowing,” he said.

Post fully acknowledges the life-altering experience he received at SJU and what it can do for the generations of Hawks following him. Because of that experience, Post, together with his wife Maryanne, was compelled to make the opportunity more readily available for SJU students.

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The John and Maryanne Hennings Post Learning Commons has had a markedly positive impact on the campus community since it opened more than a year ago. In 1999, the Posts made a leadership gift to renovate Villiger Hall into John R. Post Hall, complete with state of the art networking and in-class computer technology for several academic departments, including psychology, sociology and interdisciplinary health.

“I attribute much credit for my transition to SJU, and hence, my expression of thanks to the University’s capital campaign which established and developed the Post Learning Commons,” said the 2006 Shield of Loyola recipient.

Located at the center of the Saint Joseph’s campus, the Post Learning Commons is a three-story, 35,000-square-foot addition to the existing Drexel Library. Together, the Post Learning Commons and Drexel Library comprise the John R. Post ’60 Academic Center.

Students are drawn there every day to study and take breaks; to meet as groups for project discussions or read silently in a quiet alcove; to conceive presentations and practice delivering them; to charge up with a cup of coffee and snack from the Crossroads Café or to take solace in North Lounge with its soothing rock garden view.

“(John) has such a rapport with the barista,” noted Maryanne Post, who is equally enamored with visiting the Learning Commons. “I just love coming in and seeing all the students studying and working at the computers.”

When the Post Learning Commons opened in March 2012, complete with on-site writing, career development and learning resource centers, student body reaction was excitement and opinion was unanimous in its adulation:

  • “It is a quiet, comfortable place that is conducive to intellectual thought and writing.”
  • “The atmosphere of others studying and working hard creates a productive energy.”
  • “It has a space for every mood I’m in; the first floor allows me to talk, the second to study with friends, and the third really allows for some in-the-zone studying.”

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“It is hard to believe it’s been a year since the Post Learning Commons opened,” said University Librarian Evelyn C. Minick. “It’s become such an integral part of campus life that it seems like it’s been here all along.”

To commemorate its first anniversary, students, faculty and staff gathered in the Post Learning Commons’ glass-enclosed atrium for a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” and cake frosted to look like the exterior of the building.

Attendees wrote thank you notes to the Posts. The full extent of how much the students enjoy their new study and collaborative space shined through in their more than 85 notes:

  • “Words can’t begin to describe my gratitude. I can only hope that through my education at SJU, I may one day be able to give back to SJU as you have.”
  • “PLC has changed the whole concept of the library. It has revolutionized learning here on campus.”
  • “Not only have I spent hours studying and preparing here, but many of my favorite memories have taken place with friends here in the library.”

On the surface, the campus impact of the Posts’ generosity is quite evident: an environment that sparks creativity, innovation, collaboration and active engagement in learning.

The true impact of the Post Learning Commons may not be known for years. No one yet knows what germ of an idea the Post Learning Commons has helped a student catalyze.

Will the next great poetry tome be conceived in the Learning Commons’ third floor lounge? Will a future humanitarian be moved to help solve an untenable situation in an impoverished, war-torn country after seeing a news report on the Crossroads Café’s television? Perhaps the Jesuitica collection will inspire a student to enter the Society of Jesus and become the first American-born Jesuit Pope. Could the Campbell Collection repository of food industry information serve as the impetus for a student to develop a solution to America’s obesity issues?

What is clearly evident is that the Post Learning Commons is enabling future generations of Hawks to explore any and all possibilities.