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D'Youville College will pay tall tribute Tuesday to its namesake, St. Marguerite d'Youville.

The saint, founder of the Grey Nuns, who established the West Side college, is depicted in a four-story mural overlooking the glassed-in atrium of the institution's new Academic Center. The five-tier, $10 million structure will be dedicated at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Bishop Henry J. Mansell of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo will bless the new center, which faces Fargo Avenue between Porter Avenue and Connecticut Street and contains classrooms, computer labs, conference rooms, faculty offices, a darkroom, art studio and more.

"There was no focal point on campus for St. Marguerite d'Youville before," noted Sister Denise A. Roche, president of the college, which has invested close to $20 million in its campus in the past three years.

Margaret M. Martin, a well-known local watercolor artist, designed the mural -- which was transferred from water-based media to vinyl and enlarged for D'Youville by Fastsigns here. Called "The Salute to St. Marguerite d'Youville," it is illuminated at night.

"Our new center is a sign of growth and development for D'Youville," Roche said. "We have been a success in recruitment, and that means we need more space, particularly new technology and science labs."

The college, marking its seventh straight year of record enrollment, had only three buildings on its Porter Avenue campus when Roche attended the institution as an undergraduate in the mid- to late 1960s.

Its new Academic Center, which replaces D'Youville's original library, is the sixth building on the college's campus proper -- and completes the connection of all six, including the Koessler Administration Building on Porter, and the Prospect Avenue Wing, which houses the Kavinoky Theater.

A courtyard between the Academic Center and D'Youville's Koessler Administration Building on Porter is highlighted by a statue, "Our Lady of Wisdom," that was mounted over the entrance to D'Youville's old library for 45 years.

The current D'Youville College Library, once Holy Angels Elementary School, is located across the street on Fargo. It was renovated by D'Youville at a cost of $7.2 million in 1999.

D'Youville also has a College Center across the street on Porter; Marguerite Hall, a student residence behind Mary Agnes Manor, also on Porter; and a house on Niagara Street used for offices.

The college owns property as well on Connecticut Street and West Avenue that it uses for parking -- a fact disliked by some neighbors.

The college recently demolished an apartment building it bought at 220 Jersey St., hoping to use its land for parking too -- but a number of neighbors complained and, earlier this month, the city's Zoning Board of Appeals denied D'Youville's request to create the lot.

"We don't know what to do with that land yet," Roche said, noting that D'Youville next hopes to expand its gymnasium, which is in the College Center, and, after that, build a new residence hall.

The new hall, still in early planning stages, would most likely be located on Connecticut Street property owned by the college, between Prospect and Fargo.

"We want to continue to provide a quality education to students, modernize the campus and contribute to the stability of the neighborhood," Roche said.

D'Youville was founded in 1908 in the Porter Avenue building that is now its Koessler Administration Building, a structure that opened in 1874 as the home of Holy Angels Academy.

The academy shared space with D'Youville from 1908 until 1930, when the academy moved to North Buffalo.

D'Youville is also home to the city's Leonardo DaVinci High School, a liberal arts magnet school, and Buffalo's City-As-School, an alternative program that includes internships. D'Youville also works closely with nearby School 3.

Four hundred of the college's students live on campus. Others rent in the neighborhood.

More and more D'Youville students are pursuing graduate degrees.

During Roche's tenure as president, several five-year courses of study -- giving graduates combined bachelor's and master's degrees in five years -- have been developed. These include occupational therapy, physical therapy, dietetics and international business.

A five-year teacher education program to meet the new New York State requirements is also available today, and the college is hoping to offer doctoral programs in health care education in the future.


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