Photos: Holy Cross Celebrates Construction Milestone of the Joanne Chouinard-Luth Recreation and Wellness Center

The final beam was lifted into place after being signed by members of the campus community

College of the Holy Cross students, faculty, staff and alumni have left their mark — physically — on the new Joanne Chouinard-Luth Recreation and Wellness Center.

Members of the Holy Cross community gathered at the site of the new building to mark an important construction milestone, the blessing and placement of the structure’s final steel beam. Before the ceremony, the beam was made available for community members — including the construction crew — to sign with purple pens.

Following remarks from Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president of the College, the beam was hoisted to its final destination at the top of the steel structure.

Construction of the building, colloquially referred to as The Jo, is made possible by a $40 million donation — the largest in College history — from John Luth '74 and his wife, Joanne Chouinard-Luth. A significant part of the donation, $25 million, is allocated toward the renovation and expansion of the Hart Center, now the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex, which was dedicated in 2018. The balance of the donation, which was recently increased by an additional $7.5 million to total $15 million, is being used to fund The Jo.

The new 52,000 square foot facility will offer a new home to campus recreation, through a wide range of fitness and wellness spaces, including sports courts, weight rooms, a golf simulator, three rooms for yoga, cycling and fitness, and a one-tenth-mile suspended jogging track overlooking Worcester. The three-story facility will also be home to club and intramural sports and house an expanded office for Public Safety.

"John was a transfer student to the College of the Holy Cross, and he was working for an alum, John Flavan '53, in his restaurant in St. Louis," Fr. Boroughs said to the assembled crowd. "He wasn't a particularly happy student at the time, and John Flavan thought that John Luth was underchallenged. He said to him, 'I know where you should be going. It's not here — you should be going to College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.' John was one of nine children. Certainly, they had no resources for him to come here. John Flavan paid his way so he could come to the College tuition-free.

"That experience, as John Luth would tell you, shaped and framed his whole life. As a consequence, John Luth has adopted the principle of giving back that is so essential to all of us here at the College. There's a line in the Gospel of Matthew saying 'The gift you have been given, give as a gift.' And John Luth certainly embraced that philosophy by giving back to those who follow, so they can have the opportunity he had."

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