Hagan Arena and Ramsay Basketball Center Celebrate Five Years
Milestones continue for SJU student athletes, fans and broader community
When the Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena and Ramsay Basketball Center were dedicated five years ago, the benefactors, planners and Saint Joseph’s community had high hopes. These were more than buildings. These were places where dreams would come true.
The renovated and expanded spaces, encompassing the legendary Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, did indeed become home to SJU Atlantic 10 Champions – Women’s Basketball in 2012-13 and Men’s Basketball in 2013-14. During the 2013-14 season, the men’s and women’s basketball teams qualified for their respective NCAA Tournaments in the same season for just the third time in school history.
“We now offer our student-athletes and coaches amazing practice facilities, locker rooms, theater space to interact with the media – more room to be themselves – while providing a much more fan-friendly experience,” said Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Don DiJulia.
An Advantage to All SJU Athletic Programs
The 4,200-capacity Hagan Arena and upper level concourse, two-story 20,000 square-foot Ramsay Basketball Center and additional entrances and amenities add up to a new “wow” factor in promoting Saint Joseph’s comprehensive Division I athletics program. It’s easier and more fun to recruit high caliber student-athletes.
“These changes have aided us in attracting student-athletes who perform well for the school, while at the same time allowing fans to enjoy them on court in a building that’s worth the price of admission,” said Associate Vice President for Athletic Development Katie Shields ’87. “They’ve also been part of a domino effect on campus in which all sports have benefited from additional space. Each sports program now has its own locker rooms.”
As lead benefactors for the most comprehensive enhancement of athletic facilities in Saint Joseph’s history, Michael J. Hagan ’85 and his wife Joyce are pleased with the results. “Our student-athletes have so much to offer and this arena becomes a small part of enabling them to do what they’ve come here to do,” he said. “But for many of them, basketball will just be a stepping stone to make a life. They’ll also leave Saint Joseph’s with some amazing relationships and a diploma in their back pocket.”
The sweeping infrastructure improvements have impacted all varsity and intramural sports programs, according to DiJulia.
“Hagan Arena, Ramsay Center and renovated Athletics Center have been great for the campus community,” he said. “The additions of the James J. Maguire ’58 Campus fields and Michael A. O’Pake, Esq. ’61 Recreation Center have impacted other sports and recreation community as well, with Ellen Ryan Field for field hockey, John W. Smithson Field for baseball, a softball field and tennis courts.”
A Place Where the Community Makes a Difference
Between games and practices, Hagan Arena and the Thomas J. Wynne ’63 Hall of Fame Room are booked regularly for staff and coach meetings, alumni reunions, parent receptions, corporate partner luncheons and board meetings. Numerous campus organizations hold events on site.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, SJU and surrounding communities celebrate at Hagan Arena as student-athletes and service leaders leave campus to take part in a day of service. On October 26, 1967, King addressed 3,400 SJU students, faculty and community members in the former fieldhouse on this site.
At this year’s 39th annual Hand-in-Hand carnival, Saint Joseph’s student volunteers and local high school students will pair with special needs guests for an afternoon of games, photos, shooting hoops, dancing and enjoying a meal together. In the spring, local high schools hold their commencements at the arena.
The Hagan Arena and Ramsay Basketball Center have become a hub of activity for reaching out to the community in the magis tradition. “This place really means a lot to the students on campus, as something to be proud of and part of their college experience,” said Mike McNulty ’85, a Hagan Arena benefactor and friend and business partner of Hagan’s. “As someone who had a bird’s-eye view of the evolution of thought on how this building project should unfold, I see a result that truly fits the University’s personality. You walk in and know you’re in the Fieldhouse but with better seats and a huge student section. This is a solution that respects Saint Joe’s memories but is state-of-the-art.”
For the Hagans, the five-year anniversary of the Hagan Arena and Ramsay Basketball Center is a bittersweet yet fitting time to remember the life of one particular man who made a difference. “Dr. Jack Ramsay was our greatest Hawk,” Hagan said. “The life he led reflects positively on Saint Joseph’s University. And now his name is here forever.”
– Valerie Asuncion