Quinnipiac University has announced the renovation of new university president Judy Olian’s home less than a month after indicating that the future of university’s Irish Great Hunger Museum may be in question.
The New Haven Register reports that the renovation of Olian’s five-bedroom gated estate at 305 Spruce Bank Road will cost approximately $1 million.
In a statement, Lynn Bushnell, Vice President for Public Affairs at Quinnipiac University, said: “The university sought a permit to renovate this residence earlier this month."
“Whenever we acquire new buildings, it is common practice for us to renovate them to enable their use. Once this renovation is completed, the president’s residence will welcome students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and dignitaries from near and far, for generations to come.”
Quinnipiac University purchased the estate for $6.5 million in April 2018 after announcing that Judy Olian was set to succeed Dr. John Lahey as president of the university.
The New Haven Register says the university is “leaving no wall alone through the renovation. Even the closets are being redone.”
William Weldon, the board of trustees chairman, said in a statement that the home’s purchase was “a critical strategic acquisition for the university, unanimously supported by the Board.”
He added that Quinnipiac had been trying to acquire the newly-purchased property since 1990.
“University presidents of today are expected to spend a great deal of their time fundraising and engaging in community outreach so the institution can continue to invest in the high-quality academic programs and services that develop our students. This residence serves that purpose,” Weldon said.
The news of the renovations comes less than a month after Quinnipiac University shocked many by dropping its reported six-figure sponsorship of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade and saying that it will no longer be marching in the parade.
The University also indicated that they will be re-examining its relationship with its Irish Great Hunger Museum.
A statement said: "Given our many student-centric priorities, our hope is that Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum identifies diverse sources of support for its programs and initiatives, including philanthropy."
A later statement from Olian read: “We are in the midst of a comprehensive and inclusive strategic planning process to determine where additional investments or reallocated resources are needed – in people, programs and facilities. This includes Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum.”
"The board of trustees and I established a goal of financial self-sufficiency for the museum by June 2020. Accordingly, the museum is seeking to raise philanthropic support as well as self-generated funds to continue operations amidst the many vital learning and scholarly imperatives of the university.”
The museum, which was ushered in during previous university president Dr. John Lahey’s 30-year tenure, costs $350,000 annually to operate.