Nazareth College, Otto A. Shults Community Center
Four-year, private, suburban
Full-Time Enrollment: 2,673
Location: Rochester, N.Y.
Otto A. Shults Community Center
Year Opened: 1976
Size: 75,900 sq. ft.
Director of Campus Operations: Brian McGahan
Director of Student Activities: Carey Backman
Student Staff: 60 part-time
Nonstudent Staff: 50
The Shults Center is one of three original buildings at Nazareth College, but what you see today is a far cry from its original structure. In 1942 it housed the college’s gymnasium, dining hall, and auditorium. The picturesque Cloister Walk connected it to Smyth Hall above ground, with tunnels connecting it underground. During the 1960s, the building was remodeled to create more of a student union feel, giving students a place to meet with peers, commuters, and faculty outside of the residence halls.
In 1976 the building was expanded and named the Otto A. Shults Community Center in honor of a longtime Board of Trustees member and former chairman. The newly remodeled space included a new gymnasium with basketball and volleyball courts, an Olympic-sized pool, chapel, public lecture hall, conference rooms, Reading Lounge, The Cabaret, pub, campus store, and games room. With the college becoming a coeducational institution, there was a desire to expand sports and recreational programs. In 1989 the Shults Center was further expanded to increase the gymnasium’s size, add racquetball courts, offices, locker and training rooms, and a new fitness center.
The Shults Center is home to many campus favorites in dining, relaxation, athletics, recreation, and other student activities, including Golden Flyer Grill and Deli, The Roost, the Meditation Garden, Cloister Walk, Barnes & Noble, the Forum, Echo Circle, and Bikes@Naz.
“Bikes@Naz is a bike share program that refurbishes used bicycles and makes them available to students, faculty, and staff for free rental with a school ID,” said Carey Backman, director of student activities. “Snowshoes and cross country skis are freely available as well when snow hits. Students, faculty, and staff can take their bike in need of repair to the bike shop for instruction on how to fix it. Bike shop staff also offer guided tours to the Erie Canal, Town of Pittsford, and around campus two days per week.”
Students manage the day-to-day operations of the information desk, fitness center, bike shop, and gymnasium, as well as supervise and serve on the staff that manages intramural games and other recreational events. The Campus Activities Board offers student leadership positions that allow planning for programs to host, supplies needed, marketing materials, and event management.
The campus operations and student activities staff is constantly yet happily busy planning and managing lively events, programs, and initiatives, which include or have included the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship, Bikes@Naz, Teen Book Festival, We The Kings at Springfest, Silent Disco, Zip Trip to Boston, Glow Mile Run, annual student leadership conference, and annual Diversity Dinner.
One of the most beloved Shults Center team members is Donny Braverman, the exuberant office Betta fish named after the college president, Daan Braveman. Donny, hired in December 2016, is known for his majestic swimming, greeting students, and strict budget management, often encouraging the staff to “scale back” expenses.
Contributed by Carey Backman, Brian McGahan, and Rustin McNiff