With a ribbon cutting led by Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey ’03, Mount Saint Mary College celebrated the grand opening of the recently renovated Guzman Hall – home of the Desmond Center for Community Engagement and Wellness – on June 15, 2023.
The Desmond Center, overseen by Executive Director Genesis Ramos, Orange County Legislator (District 6), provides wellness and educational services for underserved individuals and families. The Center offers accessible and equitable educational, health, and wellness services for community members and families in the local area.
Desmond Center programming began in March of 2022 in various locations on- and off-campus. Now, most programs will take place in the new space.
Guzman Hall was originally opened in 1963 by the college’s founding Dominican Sisters as a residence hall for young Dominican novices. The building has also served as a residence hall for Mount freshmen.
The updated space boasts a large community room that offers breathtaking views of the Hudson River, and a variety of multipurpose classroom-style areas for health screenings, exercise programs, and more. The building also introduces revamped space for Desmond Center staff and other Mount offices.
The new Guzman Hall also remains true to the Mount’s Dominican heritage, with stained glass from the former Founder’s Chapel repurposed and built into the new design. Other elements, such as a large stained-glass panel that tells the story of St. Dominic, have been retained in their original forms and locations.
Ramos thanked the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for a trio of grants, totaling nearly $1.1 million, awarded to the Mount for the Desmond Center.
“Since 2020, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has been a proud supporter of Mount Saint Mary’s Desmond Center for Community Engagement and Wellness,” said Kimberley Chin, senior program officer at the Foundation. “Our partnership…exemplifies our shared values to ensure that our communities are represented and improving the health and spiritual and emotional wellness of the community.”
In addition, New York State awarded a $1 million Higher Education Capital (HECap) matching grant to the Mount for the construction of the Desmond Center.
For more information on upcoming Desmond Center events that are free and open to the public, visit msmc.edu/desmond