Newman Center set to celebrate 75-year anniversary on campus

The Hall Newman Center will celebrate their 75th anniversary in June and is calling all alumni to come back.

The center started their ministry on campus when they were established in 1934. Started by Rev. Daniel Collins, it was first known as the Newman Club for the Oswego Normal School. The club eventually moved to its current location on New Street in 1964 and changed its name to the Robert E. Hall Newman Center 20 years later.

Today, the Newman Center serves as abalance between spirituality and academics, still completing the mission it set forth 75 years ago. The Center continues hosting community outreach programs, masses and other events.

Marian Chermack, who is a resident of Oswego, has been involved with the center since the early 1970s. She first discovered the center after moving to Oswego nearly 40 years ago. Still an active member of the Newman Center, she had a great first impression of it.

"I found it to be a place of openness and accepting people," she said. "They take people as they are in their faith journey and there is a great sense of community."

Chermack also commented that the acceptance found at the Newman Center is what makes it special. Although the center is technically Catholic, it has ministered to people of other faiths from the very beginning.

"It’s important to be accepted in their journey," Chermack commented. "It’s a place you can really grow."

Michael Huynh, who has served as campus minister for the Newman Center for the past four years, first attributes his positive experience there while he was a student at Oswego State. He felt that the center was essential in helping him grow as a person.

"It allowed me to explore spirituality from an academic viewpoint," he said.

Huynh noted that the center was for everyone on the campus.

"It’s a place anyone can use to deepen their spirituality," he said. "The main goal of the Newman Center is to address the spiritual needs of the campus community."

Stressing the importance of a supportive community is something Huynh has incorporated in his life. Along with his wife, Christy Huynh, assistant director of advisement at the Compass, they both make themselves available to anyone who may need their assistance. Both alumni of Oswego State, they still remain connected to the center, as they raise their two children within the community.

Participation from the college students and faculty has been essential in keeping the center as active as it is. With activities such as the Poverty Committee, which provides outreach to the poor around Oswego County, Salvation Army breakfasts, coffee houses and other things, students are always around.

Michael LaMastra, a graduate student in business education and marketing has been attending the Newman Center for five years. He has been involved in many different activities, including serving as an Eucharistic minister, a religious education teacher as well as a resident of the Newman House. The Newman House, a faith-based living community, has been a part of the center for the past two years.

Like Chermack and Huynh, LaMastra sees the importance of community and spirituality that offers the comforts of home.

"I have stayed faithful to the center because of all of the great people and the feeling that I am a significant part of something," he said. "I feel at home every time I walk in; it is hard to find a place like that."

Anyone interested in attending the 75th anniversary can contact the Newman Center at 315-312-7222. The anniversary celebration will take place of June 6-7.