Ferguson Makes $12 Million Gift to CNU

Ferguson Enterprises recently made the largest donation in Christopher Newport’s 51-year history. 

“Ferguson’s commitment of $12 million will enable us to sustain the programming excellence and success of the Ferguson Center and create two transformative opportunities for our students by supporting scholarships in the performing arts and service in our community,” President Paul Trible notes. 

  • $10 million will provide support for the Ferguson Center’s operations and programs.
  • $1 million will create the Ferguson Enterprises Performing Arts Scholarships to provide support for full-time students in music, theater and dance. These scholarships will enable CNU to recruit and retain students of extraordinary talent with an ongoing commitment to academic and artistic excellence. An important expectation of Ferguson Scholars is that they will engage in service opportunities, sharing their talent and intelligence in creative ways throughout the community.
  • $1 million will provide support for the Center for Community Engagement. Ferguson has partnered with CNU’s Center for Community Engagement for several years, particularly through the support of local internships. Through these internships, Ferguson supports experiential learning opportunities for students to serve the citizens of our community and commonwealth.

For more than a decade, through the vision and leadership of CEOs David Peebles, Charlie Banks, Chip Hornsby and Frank Roach, Ferguson and Christopher Newport University have formed and sustained a strong partnership. That close association created a model for corporations and institutions of higher education in making a difference in the quality of life for Virginia and for exponentially increasing the educational experience for students.

“CNU is immensely grateful for our longstanding partnership with Ferguson and for Ferguson’s strong support through the years,” Trible says.

Providing a model for good corporate citizenship, Ferguson encourages its associates to actively engage in the communities where they live and work and contribute generously to the success of those communities, with the company leading the way. 

A Dramatic Transformation

Over the past 17 years Christopher Newport has completed over $1 billion in capital construction that makes the CNU experience second to none. “A campus rich in intellectual life must be supported by facilities that promote our highest academic ideals,” says President Paul Trible. Many changes have taken place on this beautiful 260-acre campus over the last year, and several new projects are on the horizon.

Pope Chapel  |  Luter Hall  |  New Residence Hall  |  Forbes Hall Phase II  |  Bell Tower  |  Student Success Center


Pope Chapel

CNU’s new Pope Chapel opened to the community in February. Welcoming people of all faiths, the 10,000-square-foot building stands at the entrance to the University and enriches campus life through religious activities, lectures, musical performances and other special events. 

Christopher Newport dedicated the chapel during a special program on February 17. Invited guests, including those whose financial support helped make this project possible, attended the ceremony and enjoyed musical performances by CNU student ensembles and faculty members. 

Twenty-seven weddings have already been scheduled in this new facility. To reserve space for your ceremony, please contact Alicia Brown at (757) 594-7018 or alicia.brown@cnu.edu.

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Luter Hall

Luter Hall, the largest academic building on campus, is now complete. It houses the Joseph W. Luter, III School of Business, as well as the Departments of Economics; Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology; Leadership and American Studies; Mathematics; and Physics, Computer Science and Engineering. Features include a trading room; a tiered lecture hall; 14 traditional and seven computer classrooms; nine teaching labs for physics, computer science and engineering; eight faculty and student research labs; three reading rooms; faculty offices; a boardroom; public spaces; and cutting-edge technology. 

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New Residence Halls

Last fall the University opened Warwick River Hall, which houses sophomore students in four-person suites. Residents live two to a room and share a common area and bathroom. Rappahannock River Hall will open this fall and will house returning upper-class students. The 457-bed facility will include private bedrooms and baths, full kitchens, and a 250-space parking deck. 

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Forbes Hall Phase II

The second phase of Forbes Hall, CNU’s integrated science center, opened in January. The 46,000-square-foot addition includes state-of-the-art classrooms, a vivarium, laboratories and offices supporting academic programs in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Chemistry, Organismal and Environmental Biology, and Psychology. 

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Bell Tower

Construction will begin this summer on a bell tower. Located between McMurran Hall and Forbes Hall, the tower will feature the bell from the SS United States currently on display in the Trible Library. It will also include a clock on each of the bell tower’s four sides and a carillon. The bell tower will allow CNU to build rich traditions around commencement, athletic victories and other events. 

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Student Success Center

Construction of the Student Success Center begins this summer. Completing the Great Lawn, the 80,000-square-foot project will replace the current Administration Building. In addition to providing important administrative functions, the facility will offer students “one-stop shopping” by housing these service departments: Admission, Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, the Business Office, Payroll, Student Accounts, the Center for Academic Success, the President’s Leadership Program, Study Abroad, the Honors Program, Alumni Relations and University Events, and the Center for Career Planning.

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Summer Vocal Institute Established

CNU has established the Torggler Summer Vocal Institute (TSVI), an intensive two-week residency program where emerging young singers will learn from professional vocal instructors and performers. The program will provide extraordinary opporunities for students to develop essential performance skills.

TSVI is made possible by a generous gift from George and Mary Torggler, retired entrepreneurs and longtime supporters of the arts and education. They are also the parents of Hunter Torggler, a vocal performance major at CNU.

The Institute is scheduled for July 7-21 with a maximum of 50 high school and college students selected to participate. World-renowned visiting artists for summer 2013 include Costanza Cuccaro, internationally acclaimed lyric-coloratura soprano; Ben Heppner, Grammy Award-winning dramatic tenor who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera; Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell; and Janis Siegel, nine-time Grammy Award winner and founding member of the Manhattan Transfer, who are also scheduled to perform.

Visit tsvinstitute.org for details.

CNU students completed more than 61,000 service hours during the 2012-13 academic year. Overall, 167 community partners benefited from this volunteerism. Independent Sector, a leadership network for nonprofits, estimates the dollar value of this volunteer time at almost $1.4 million.

Underscoring the University’s commitment to transforming hearts and minds,100 students graduated with CNU’s Service Distinction during the program’s first year; an additional 383 undergraduates are currently enrolled and working toward that goal.


Food for Thought ’12 

Christopher Newport collected 46,188 pounds of food during the fifth annual Food for Thought campaign. The food drive mobilized the campus community to collect food and money to benefit the Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula. 

To support CNU’s effort, Smithfield Foods generously donated 10,000 pounds of protein as part of its “Helping Hungry Homes” program. Campus volunteers helped weigh, sort, box and load all of the collected food directly onto Foodbank trucks. 

CNU’s Food for Thought engages students, faculty and staff in an important dialogue regarding the causes of hunger, as well as ways to directly contribute to short- and long-term solutions. 


Service Distinction Promotes Volunteerism 

Launched this academic year, the Service Distinction Program will strengthen CNU’s commitment to building relational bridges between the campus and local communities. The program also reinforces CNU’s mission of sending out graduates to lead lives of significance in their communities, the nation and the world. 

This initiative acknowledges students committed to service while recognizing four aspects of engagement: volunteerism within the community; a commitment to the work and cause of community partners; civic engagement through advocacy, policy development, program planning and implementation; and social entrepreneurship addressing local issues in new and innovative ways. 

To be awarded with distinction at commencement students must complete either 140 service hours in the local community over at least two years or 120 hours and a service-learning course. 

CNU has placed special emphasis on tutoring and mentoring students in Hampton and Newport News schools. “With our nation crying out for a better-educated citizenry, our students are uniquely positioned to not only tutor students in math, science and English, but also to mentor students in their critical teenage years,” President Paul Trible says. 

Learn more about the University’s Service Distinction emphasis at engage.cnu.edu.