“A building’s name is more than a marker. A building’s name tells a story,” said Jim Husson, senior vice president for University Advancement, at the dedication of the newly-christened Stayer Hall Friday afternoon. Formerly 110 St. Thomas More Hall, or “the Gate,” Stayer Hall was recently named in honor of the generosity shown by Ralph and Shelly Stayer, beginning a new chapter in the building’s story.
Ralph Stayer, an alumnus of Notre Dame, is currently the CEO and chairman of Johnsonville Sausage, LLC, the nation’s leading sausage company. He is also the author of Flight of the Buffalo and How I Learned To Let My Workers Lead, two well-reviewed books focusing on management and leadership strategies in business. Johnsonville Sausages currently sells products in more than 30 countries worldwide, and the company employs over 1,000 workers. Stayer’s daughter, Brooke Stayer, is a junior at Boston College.
The dedication ceremony, held in the Vanderslice parking lot, opened with a welcome by Husson.
“Stayer Hall is a gracious welcome to all who visit the University,” Husson said. “It is my great pleasure to welcome all of you to this very happy occasion, the dedication of Stayer Hall, Boston College’s newest residence hall.”
After Husson’s welcome, Chris Osnato, UGBC president and A&S ’13, addressed the guests, which included residents of Stayer Hall, administrators, members of the board of trustees, and other friends of the University. Osnato, a resident of Stayer Hall, thanked the Stayers for their generosity.
“As a resident of Stayer Hall, I’m honored to be representing members of that community and the student body as a whole,” Osnato said. Addressing the Stayers, he said, “May you always remember your BC family, just as we will always remember yours.”
Osnato was followed by Kathleen McGillycuddy, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, who publicly welcomed Ralph Stayer to the Board of Trustees for the first time. Stayer joined the Board of Trustees earlier this year.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to offer my heartfelt thank you to Ralph and Shelly Stayer,” McGillycuddy said. “Stayer Hall will represent the family values of their name and remind residents how important their [own] family is.”
The donation was made as part of the Light the World 150th Anniversary campaign, an effort by BC to raise $1.5 billion to secure the future of BC. University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., who has spearheaded the Light the World campaign, also thanked the Stayers for their donation.
“It is my hope as we go forward and see the name Stayer, that we realize the generosity of Ralph and Shelly Stayer,” Leahy said. “I’m very grateful to Shelly and Ralph for making this possible, and to all of you for coming.”
After Leahy’s thanks, Shelly and Ralph were given the opportunity to address the audience. Shelly, who spoke first, spoke in the form of a letter from a fictional student living in Stayer Hall to her parents. Her address ranged from comical to serious and back again. “This guy went to Notre Dame, how did he get his name on a building?”
During his address, Ralph Stayer discussed his honor at being recognized, and his faith in the will of God, which he believes led him to his donation. He spoke highly of his many employees, thanking them for bringing him to where he is today.
“Their work and dedication to becoming the best that they can be provides the funds to make this donation to BC, and I am honored to represent them here today,” he said.
The dedication ceremony was followed by a reception in the St. Ignatius parking lot, where guests were treated to Johnsonville Sausage products and cupcakes from Shelly Stayer’s personal cupcake stores.