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Year in Review 2013: Southwestern Illinois

2013 a year of firsts and continued growth for Lindenwood University-Belleville

    The Belleville campus of Lindenwood University has been a continuous mecca for growth and development for over a decade now, serving as a catalyst for positive success and change for students, education and the community alike. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013, LU-Belleville has done impressive work in impacting the lives of people who have interacted with it — past, present or future.
    Lindenwood University-Belleville marked its 10th anniversary with a special ceremony and dinner in November 2013 that included recognition of the City of Belleville, St. Clair County, Lindenwood University, Congressman William Enyart, and Illinois State Rep. Jay Hoffman. First employees of the Belleville campus, Gary Lopez and Mary Reuter, were also honored.
    Earlier in the year, it was Congressman William Enyart’s message at LU-Belleville’s first commencement that provided much inspiration and motivation, not only to the graduating class, but to all those attending the historical event.
    LU-Belleville held its inaugural commencement ceremony in May. It was an auspicious event for many reasons. James Evans, president of the Lindenwood University system, played a prominent role in the ceremony, along with many other members of the university system’s board of directors that were in attendance. LU-Belleville’s President Jerry Bladdick presided over the ceremony.
    “The commencement ceremony symbolized this growth: we had approximately 250 students receive their degrees at the ceremony, and had nearly 500 students graduate this year. I was proud to see these students walk across the stage, and I feel that many of the denizens of the city of Belleville share this sense of pride in LU-Belleville,” said Keith Russell, who is the campus’ dean of academics.
    Construction developments were also a significant part of LU-Belleville’s past year. One of those developments was the newly completed Communications Center, which debuted at an open house at the campus in October. The center’s new television and radio broadcasting studios were a significant addition to the communications program offerings at Lindenwood’s Belleville campus.
    “The communications program at LU-Belleville gives students lots of opportunities to work on announcing our basketball and football games, or to put together promotional videos for a theater production, or to write for the school paper,” said the university’s department chair for communications, Brendan Leahy. However, the new studios are not only being used to air campus events; they are also being used to broadcast council meetings for the City of Belleville.
    Another milestone was achieved with the construction of the campus’ first residence hall. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in May for a $4 million women’s residence hall, which welcomed its first student residents in early December. Just weeks before its opening, President Bladdick announced plans for a second student residence hall to house its male student population.
    “Currently, we have over 600 students living on campus. Now that the women’s dormitory is completed, our housing capacity totals around 800, and the new men’s dorm will give us the ability to house 1,000 students on campus by fall 2014,” said Bladdick, who also indicated that the new dorm will be built across West Main Street from the campus on the former site of the New Freedom Baptist Church.