By Celine Klosterman
IOWA CITY — The Newman Catholic Student Center is about to pay off its mortgage.
The center at the University of Iowa has raised $3.18 million, thanks to a capital campaign begun three-and-a-half years ago to pay for purchasing the Newman Center from the Davenport Diocese and to fund several other projects. The downtown Iowa City property and building sold for $1.8 million in 2005.
“We’ve almost paid off the mortgage, which will secure this site forever,” said Father Ed Fitzpatrick, Newman Center director.
The campaign also raised money to establish an endowment to fund a staff position to expand outreach and education, supplement the center’s annual appeal and establish a development office for five years, and fund an assistantship in liturgical ministry formation.
“We’ve achieved our campaign objectives,” Fr. Fitzpatrick said.
In all, 654 people donated. More than 200 people accepted invitations to a May 24 celebration of the campaign’s success.
Fr. Fitzpatrick said the celebration’s date, which this year is the feast of the Ascension, is significant. “That is when the Lord commissions us to carry out his good work. Donors’ generosity has put us in a position where we can accept that commission: Making young adults good, Catholic professionals for the church and the world.”
The Newman Center also went public with its capital campaign on a significant day for the Catholic Church: May 27, 2007, Pentecost Sunday, Fr. Fitzpatrick noted.
About 1,500 people register with the Newman Center each year, and many unregistered Catholic students also take advantage of its ministerial, educational, social and service opportunities, Fr. Fitzpatrick has said.
In January, the center celebrated its 20th year in its current building. The center traces its roots to a Newman Club formed at the university in 1906.