As a tribute to former President James P. Gallagher’s tenure of 23 years and distinguished record of accomplishments that moved Philadelphia University into the forefront of higher education in the Delaware Valley and beyond, the Athletic and Recreation Center was dedicated to him and named The Gallagher Athletic, Recreation, and Convocation Center today, Friday, Sept. 28, 2007.
Board Chair Elizabeth H. Gemmill welcomed the audience of trustees, friends, faculty, staff and students. She introduced the morning’s speaker, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, who first acknowledged his long friendship with Dr. Gallagher, as they are East Falls neighbors of long standing. His remarks were peppered with quips and humorous references about his friend, but also with praise for the remarkable achievements he has witnessed here on this campus. “There has been tremendous progress at Philadelphia University, and the spirit here has enhanced our neighborhood,” he stated. “Upgrading educational standards is key to the United States remaining competitive and the students here are better prepared and more strongly equipped because of Dr. Gallagher’s efforts over the years. You should be proud.”
Mrs. Anne Gallagher offered thanks to everyone associated in planning the Gallagher Scholarship Gala in August and also with the decision to name the White House Fountain Garden for her. “I always thought it was the most beautiful place on campus,” she said.
An upbeat Dr. Gallagher was visibly moved by the tribute, thanked everyone for the honor and had a few quips of his own. In referring to the fact that the building named for him is an athletic center, he indicated that “now people will think I really can play ball,” a comment that drew laughter from the crowd. On a more serious note, he acknowledged that “we’ve had a really great run.”
As Betsy Gemmill stated in her opening remarks, “Dr. Gallagher’s legacy will far exceed his tenure.”
Following the ceremony, everyone was invited to greet Dr. Gallagher, enjoy a buffet lunch in the Gallagher Center to the sounds of local singer/songwriter Jeffrey Gaines and took home a souvenir T-shirt of the day.