New leadership institute for women set at Carlow

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Three weeks after announcing the creation of a men's intercollegiate basketball team, Carlow University on Saturday gave further insight into its plans to bolster campus life in and out of the classroom in the coming years.

The university with 2,300 students announced plans for a new Institute for Women's Leadership and Empowerment, which is expected to be operational by the beginning of fall classes. Carlow also detailed preparations for the school's first major construction in more than a decade -- the $15.7 million University Commons project.

Information about both endeavors was released as the former women's college installed Suzanne Mellon as its 10th president during a ceremony in the Rosemary Heyl Theatre in Antonian Hall on Carlow's Oakland campus.

"There is a strong need to address the social and health disparities of women and the role that women's leadership and voice can have for our community and the world," Ms. Mellon said in remarks prepared for Saturday's ceremony. "This institute will increase the capacity of women to become skilled change agents and social entrepreneurs within communities regional to global."

The institute will be developed based on the social-justice mission of the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow's founding order, officials said. The center's staff will support educational and community outreach endeavors.

The University Commons project is a renovation and transformation of the 82,500-square-foot Grace Library Building into what officials say will be the center of campus life and learning.

Housed there will be faculty and student services as well as classrooms and a range of operations from the Office of Student Affairs and the campus ministry to the library, which will require less physical space due to the ongoing digitization of many holdings, officials said. Amenities will include computer labs, a cafe and study spaces.

The university plans to begin construction in August and hopes to open the facility in August 2015. All but roughly $1 million needed for the project has been raised, university officials said.

Carlow, a Catholic institution founded in 1929, is now coed, with males accounting for 9 percent of its undergraduates and 14 percent of its graduate students.

At a news conference last month, Carlow announced the introduction this fall of its men's basketball team, the Celtics.

The team will compete in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, under the NAIA. Carlow's women's basketball team already competes in the conference.

Bill Schackner:, 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @BschacknerPG.

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