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York College Receives Three Transformative Gifts in Support of 'Spartan Commons'

May 19, 2022
Spartan Commons Rendering

While many friends and alumni continue to support EVOLVE: The Campaign for York College, there are certain components of the College’s first comprehensive campaign that are yet to be fully funded. Spartan Commons is one of these important priorities that will positively affect students for years to come. 

Three very special friends of the College – trustees Dotti Fischer ’79 (and husband John) and Keith Noll, as well as former College President Dr. Robert Iosue – have stepped up to offer their vote of confidence and their financial support to the Spartan Commons project.

Dotti Fischer ’79 and husband, John, typically support scholarships when they give to York College. “We normally give money to scholarships, because we are not the brick-and-mortar type of people,” said Dotti Fischer. “But with Spartan Commons, I felt that York needed a 21st-century centerpiece to help draw students to the campus.”

“York College has been fighting for the decreasing demographic of students,” Fischer said. “We’ve created new academic majors and programs to increase enrollment, but a piece of that is the impression people have when they first come on campus.”

Designed to be the hallmark of the York College campus, Spartan Commons would provide space for individual, collaborative, and distance-learning opportunities for students. It would also house the important components of academic success – including career and leadership development centers – and provide spaces for student government, Greek Life, and other campus activities. Technology would be a centerpiece of this new center of engagement, and Spartan Commons will signal a “sense of arrival” for visitors. Spartan Commons will also provide a new home for the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion – an especially important component as York College builds on its commitment to create an inclusive environment and a sense of belonging for all students.

“By its very name, a commons symbolizes coming together with a shared purpose in community,” said Rick Satterlee, Dean of Student Development and Campus Life. “This project is so important because it acknowledges that student learning and engagement happen in many spaces and contexts. York needs a facility like Spartan Commons to foster student learning and growth,” he said.

Spartan Commons is much more than a new student union, said Trustee Keith Noll. “Spartan Commons should provide a vision toward the future,” he said. “We have to give students and families the feeling that they are not coming to just a small-town college, but rather a college that will propel them into the future.”

Former College President Dr. Robert Iosue, whose name is on the current Student Union, gives his financial support to the College because he is proud of what it has become. “I think a lot of the College,” he said. “My wife and I had a chance to build it, not in size, but rather in national recognition. I think we succeeded in that, and I’m very proud of the College.”

Iosue does not typically designate where his support should go when he makes a gift to York College.

“I let those at the College decide what’s most needed,” he said. “And right now, there is a need for a new sort of student union that goes way beyond what is currently on campus.”

“People need space to concentrate, but you must also provide common space for collaboration,” said Noll, who also serves as Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer at WellSpan Health. “That’s how companies are operating. At WellSpan, we are reducing private offices and increasing the number of conference rooms and collective spaces to spark creativity.”

“I’ve toured enough college campuses and seen what a centerpiece like that can be for the students and the public coming in,” said Fischer. “The school needs this piece of transformation to complete the comprehensive campaign.” 

“These three investments show the commitment of our alumni and our leadership to the mission of York College as expressed through Spartan Commons,” said Vice President of Development Troy Miller. “We thank these innovative donors and we hope others will also support this important project.”