$6.7 million raised in support of SugarLoaf construction
With a transformative vision for the future, Chestnut Hill College (CHC) took the first steps toward building a gateway for projects and programs to meet the growing needs in the Greater Philadelphia area and beyond by officially breaking ground on a new entrance and trail to its SugarLoaf Campus on Saturday, November 13th. The proposed construction will not only make it safer for vehicles to enter and exit the property, but it will also include the creation of a scenic trail to make travel more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians, as well as the addition of ADA signal crosswalks, a bus shelter, and synchronized traffic signals to help ease the flow of traffic on Bells Mill Road, Germantown and Hillcrest Avenues.
Shovels in hand, to symbolize the work that will soon be done on the SugarLoaf campus, Chestnut Hill College President, Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. was joined by Sisters of Saint Joseph Congregation President, Sister Maureen Erdlen, CHC Chair of the Board of Directors, Cathy Lockyer Moulton ’92, board members Ron Zemnick and Mike Fitzpatrick, and State Rep. Chris Rabb, in officially starting the groundbreaking process.
“SugarLoaf is a symbol, not just of land, but of beauty, collaboration, and promise,” Rabb said, expressing his pride in being able to have SugarLoaf as part of his district. “I have such high expectations for all the things that will happen here and am thrilled to be just a small part of this success.”
Rabb, along with State Sen. Art Haywood, was instrumental in helping secure the state funding to make the new entrance and trail possible. This funding includes four Department of Economic and Community Development (DCED) multimodal grants totaling $2.8 million and $115,000 in trailway grants. In all, the College received $2.9 million in grants, as well as $450,000 in funding from The Albert M. Greenfield Foundation.
Haywood highlighted the broad impact of the SugarLoaf project, noting, “I am glad to support a project that improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists and creates jobs.”
Inspired by the promising future of a new entrance and trail to the SugarLoaf Campus, Michael Gerard and Margaret Carney McCaffery ’77 made a transformative $2 million gift, of which $1 million was to be matched. Alumni and friends of the College responded with an overwhelming level of support, meeting the million-dollar match in less than five months. It was the College’s first-ever $1 million matching gift, but more than that, it represented the commitment of a shared hope for what’s to come.
“This is the future of Chestnut Hill College,” says Margaret McCaffery of the SugarLoaf plans. “It’s going to be this dynamic place that energizes the whole campus, and it was our intention that structuring our gift as a match would spark that energizing force now by inspiring other alumni to get involved.”
In all, the College raised $6.7 million for this new construction, none of which would have been possible without Sister Carol’s leadership and vision.
As noted by CHC Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Erin Wooley, “historic moments such as the groundbreaking, do not happen by accident. They happen as the result of leaders and visionaries such as Sister Carol,” who Wooley remarked used her “business acumen, entrepreneurial spirit, unwavering commitment to bring this moment to fruition. Sister Carol also utilized her relationships with those in the community who shared her vision and worked tirelessly alongside her to ensure challenges were met, opportunities were created, and necessary funding was secured – no small feat for a small institution like ours.”
The vision behind buying SugarLoaf was something that Sister Carol had for Chestnut Hill College before the property even went up for sale. Citing SugarLoaf as the College’s “manifest destiny,” Sister Carol would remark to her colleagues that one day, “we are going to buy that property.” Sure enough, in August 2006, the College did just that, announcing its intent to buy SugarLoaf in order to facilitate needed space for growth and expansion.
By 2010, after extensive renovations, SugarLoaf served as a space for additional residence halls and classroom spaces for the College’s growing student population. The campus was also ready to host its first events and welcome its first guests, doing so in the form of weddings, conferences, special events, and more. Chestnut Hill College had truly become, a campus on two hills. Even still, the aspirations behind what SugarLoaf could be for not just the College but for the entire community remained. And through tireless work, commitment, dedication, and leadership, CHC moved closer to that vision’s fulfillment in November 2021.
“Confucius once said that it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop,” said Moulton in her remarks. “We are here today, 15 years after celebrating the acquisition of SugarLoaf to break ground on a new entrance, thanks to no small feat of planning, engineering, and marching slowly but with momentum toward our goal.”
While the external construction is much needed, it represents more than just cosmetic changes to the property and surrounding area. This pivotal project is a true gamechanger for the College’s ability to strengthen its financial position in support of programs and services not only housed at SugarLoaf but on the main campus as well. These drastic improvements will allow CHC to fully realize the potential of the SugarLoaf campus in meeting the needs of our current and future students.
As Sister Carol noted during the groundbreaking event, “This new entrance is more than just a physical entrance to the campus, it is a gracious gateway to all that SugarLoaf will provide in terms of innovative and visionary collaborative partnerships and programming.”
These programs include The Wellness Collaborative, the Chestnut Hill College Institute for Montessori Education (CHIME), and a new immersive Neurodiversity Program, which will allow neurodiverse students to live and learn together.
“SugarLoaf has always been a possibility, a promise for a great future for Chestnut Hill College,” Sister Carol said. “At the SugarLoaf dedication 10 years ago, I remarked, ‘dreams do become reality if we’re prepared to work toward them with energy, focus, determination, and enthusiasm.’ That we have done.”
Construction is underway on the SugarLoaf campus. Visit www.chc.edu/sugarloaf for more details, milestones, and updates.
Marilee Gallagher '14