In her ten years as president, Dr. Antoinette Iadarola has helped Cabrini grow from a campus with challenges of adversity to a campus with challenges of opportunity.
“It is no longer a question of if we succeed. Now we know we’re going to succeed. The question now is how will we succeed,” Iadarola said.
The shift in challenges did not happen without change. After falling in love with campus during her final two days of interviews with members of Cabrini’s society, Iadarola was appointed the sixth president. Among her missions, the first was to survey students, faculty and staff to prioritize goals. The results of the survey became the First Strategic Plan, which primarily involved moving the physical plant and Children’s School to new locations to make room for the Dixon Center.
“Clearly the athletic complex was the number one priority identified by faculty and students, then the need to renovate Founder’s Hall,” Iadarola said. “We have always done a wonderful job with sports but we had no place for athletics, so we handled that first.”
While construction was underway on the Dixon Center, renovations to Founder’s Hall were also in process. Starting in 1996, renovations included equipping the Colameco Social Science Laboratory with the latest digital technology, air conditioning, a new heating system, new windows and sprinkler system.
By 1997, the First Strategic Plan was complete. The new renovations and reinforced goals of the college attracted more students. With 994 full-time students enrolled and the number of campus residents increasing, the need came for additional housing. In 1998, the Cabrini Apartment Complex was built to accommodate the growth.
With the first renovations to Founder’s Hall complete, Iadarola turned to the students and faculty again. Boosted by The Hamilton Family Foundation’s $1 million grant, the communications wing was built, including videographic classrooms, a journalism newsroom, radio station and faculty offices. Completed in 2000, the revamped communications wing helped enroll a record 1,218 full-time students. Once again, the growth led to a need for more campus housing and the New Residence Hall was built.
This year, the Third Strategic Plan has been unveiled. The goal of the plan includes the construction of a Science, Education and Technology Center, a campus center, additions to Holy Spirit Library and the Cabrini Apartment Complex and construction of two residence halls. Iadarola expects to be breaking ground for the Science, Education and Technology Center during the spring semester of 2003.
Iadarola hopes that with the additions of the new plan, more students will enroll in future classes. “I would love to have 1,000 students living on campus. I think that would give Cabrini the critical mass of students to run Loquitur and the radio station and other student activities,” she said.
After ten years as president, Iadarola continues to search for ways to promote planned growth and school pride. “We have come a long way. We continue to grow,” she said. “We are about where a young college should be. I’d even say we are a little further ahead.”