Dedication of Wicker Wellness Center highlights Homecoming Weekend

Publication Date

A perfect autumn setting welcomed nearly 1,500 alumni, family and friends who gathered this weekend to celebrate Homecoming and Family Weekend.

The event featured a host of fun activities, special speakers, the recognition of distinguished alumni and volunteers, and a full slate of athletic contests, including football, men’s and women’s ice hockey, women’s volleyball, men’s soccer, field hockey and men’s lacrosse.

Among the highlights was the dedication of the Wicker Wellness Center on Saturday. Built adjacent to Alumni Gym, the two-story, 6,600-square foot building will greatly enhance students' educational experience by offering expanded services to keep them physically and mentally healthy.

The first floor of the $2.3 million building is occupied by Health Services, which is staffed by nurse practitioners, registered professional nurses and a collaborating physician. The space includes six exam rooms, offices, a conference room, reception and waiting area, and a staff lounge.

The Eppler-Wolff Center for Psychological Services is on the second floor. The center, which provides confidential individual counseling, couples counseling and roommate conflict mediation, includes a private entry, waiting rooms, six counseling rooms, a relaxation area and offices.

Both offices were located in Silliman Hall.

Calling Wicker a gem of a building, Acting President Therese McCarty said the center supports “an optimal learning environment that nurtures mind, body and spirit holistically.”

She noted the opening of the center coincides with the College devoting the academic year to promoting a culture of wellness across campus, which touches on nearly every aspect of Union’s new strategic plan. Through a series of events, speakers and programs involving a diverse mix of departments, from Academic Affairs to Dining Services to Athletics, the focus will enhance Union's commitment to the education of the whole person.

Health Services handles nearly 5,000 student visits in an academic year. Marcus Hotaling, director of the Counseling Center, said the enhanced services now available are critical for today’s college student, and he hoped that visitors will learn that “stormy weather is nothing to fear, and instead that success and strength come from learning to dance in the rain.”

The lead gift for the wellness center comes from longtime College benefactor William M. Wicker '71 and his wife, Pamela. Wicker, the vice chairman of Investment Banking, Natural Resources Group at Morgan Stanley, has been a Union Trustee since 2009.

The wellness center also is supported by Nancy Eppler-Wolff '75 and her husband, John H. Wolff.

Also, at the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner Friday, Cal Welch ’62 received the Distinguished Service Award for a lifetime of commitment and contributions to the College; Leata Jackson ’88 was presented with the Alumni Special Appreciation Award for service and loyalty to the College and Alumni Council; Lorraine Ater ’09 was named winner of the Alumni Rising Star Award; and the Union College Club of New York City received the Most Outstanding Club Event Award. To celebrate Women’s History Month in March, the club hosted a women’s panel on leadership featuring Kate White ’72, Julie Swidler ’79, Dr. Kathy Magliato ‘85 and Dr. Rachel Kelz ’92.

Homecoming 2014 is scheduled for Oct. 24-26.