Groundbreaking of John M. Paz 78 Family and Alumni Center


Tayyaba Jadoon ‘26, Guest Writer

Dickinson broke ground recently on the John M. Paz ’78 Alumni and Family Center, which will convert the historic president’s house at the corner of West and High streets into a space that connects alumni, students, and families.

President John Jones told The Dickinsonian that funding for the entire renovations and maintenance, in perpetuity, had been secured. Jones said that though the renovations were necessary, he “didn’t want to tap college funds.”

Initial conversations about the building had begun when Provost Neil Weissman served as interim president of the college. He had no need for another residence in Carlisle and that allowed the college to evaluate the building. The building had fallen into disrepair with millions of dollars needed to repair windows, roofing, and wiring, something that Jones described as “a function of presidents being mindful of the budget.”

The College decided to purchase another property–127 Conway St, where the president now resides–and find a way to repurpose the historic president’s house. Jones told The Dickinsonian “I don’t think the community would like to see that building disappear” and that the Board of Trustees had brainstormed about possible uses for the building. Efforts to transform the building started before Jones began as president. 

“Dickinson views this as a vital link between the past and the future,” said Jones at the groundbreaking. The ceremony for the Alumni and Family Center took place Friday, September 23rd. 

The announcement occurred during Dickinson’s Homecoming and Family weekend. The atmosphere of the event reflected the very essence of the project–alumni were seen chatting with their peers and familiar faces were being recognized. Alumni reunited with old friends, interacted with families, and chatted with Dickinson’s current student body. 

“I’m fortunate to be in this position”, said John M. Paz ‘78, one of the donors to the project, as he attributed his success to Dickinson. He also expressed his confidence in President Jones’ leadership, and emphasized for other alumni how the present was the time to give back to Dickinson. 

Jones told The Dickinsonian that among the donors were Chair of the Board of Trustees Douglas Pauls ’80, Jim Chamber ’78, George V. Hager Jr. ’78, and Former President of the College William Durdena ’71.

Paz ‘78, also expressed how he wasn’t entirely happy with the outcomes of colleges in the United States, to which the audience agreed by clapping at his statement. He expressed his hopes that Dickinsonians would graduate as better individuals, who will make the world a better place for future generations. 

The center represents the college’s commitment to engage alumni and families. It is meant to become a gathering space for events, suites for overnight guests and a vital link between the town of Carlisle and the college, while also containing suites for overnight guests.