Mundelein Auditorium Renamed for Former President Rooney

The Mundelein Auditorium will be renamed Jo Ann Rooney Hall in honor of Loyola’s first woman president. The name change celebrates Rooney’s achievements as president of the university.

Loyola’s Board of Trustees announced the renaming of Mundelein Auditorium to Jo Ann Rooney Hall at a meeting on Sept. 23, commemorating her achievements as Loyola’s first woman president.   

In an email sent to Loyola students, faculty and staff, the Board of Trustees said President Rooney’s leadership led to significant growth for the university.  

Some of her notable achievements included the endorsement of a budget to double the number of faculty within the School of Environmental Sustainability as well as increasing the size and diversity of the faculty, according to the university’s webpage.The Board wrote her “fundraising and fiscal stewardship have left the university in the strongest position in its history.” 

The Loyola community welcomed Rooney as president in Mundelein Auditorium in 2016, and it remains a special place for her and the university.

”It is a place for the university to come together and mark significant achievements, rituals, and milestones,” the Board of Trustees wrote.

The Board connected Rooney’s presidency to the historical significance of the Mundelein Center Auditorium that first housed Mundelein College, the last private Catholic women’s college in Illinois. Mundelein College joined Loyola in 1991, according to the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership.  

The Board of Trustees stated Jo Ann Rooney Hall will reflect her legacy and her leadership as well as contributions to the university for future students in years to come. 

Emily Kuehl, a junior triple majoring in psychology, global studies, and Spanish, said that the Board did a nice job in making an effort to remember President Rooney’s contributions to the university. Still, she feels that the name change does not fit in with the Mundelein Center.  

“It is nice to remember her this way,” Kuehl, 20, said.“However, I don’t love the idea because having the Mundelein Auditorium in the Mundelein building just makes sense.” 

Years of tuition increases as well as issues over the university’s response to racial justice concerns are some of the criticisms that have been made against Rooney’s tenure as president, according to previous reporting from The Phoenix.   

Austin George, a sophomore, said he feels that it is odd that the university would rename the auditorium so soon. He said he can’t recall any major achievements from her time as president. 

“I don’t have a very fond perspective of the administration,” George, 19, said. “ What is the point of renaming it? I can see naming something after somebody like sister Jean because she is a big deal, but naming something after Jo Ann Rooney doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”  

Featured image by Holden Green | The Phoenix

Nick Pallotto

Nick Pallotto