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Science complex to be named for Antonuccis

Posted 04/27/15

Jeanne and Robert AntonucciFitchburg State University’s sprawling science complex, a state of the art facility that symbolizes more than a decade of progress for the institution, will be named after President Robert V. and Jeanne S. Antonucci. The public is invited to celebrate with the Fitchburg State campus when the building is dedicated at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 7.

President Antonucci is retiring in June after 12 years leading Fitchburg State, where his tenure included continuing major investments in buildings and infrastructure. The Board of Trustees voted this spring to name the 110,000-square-foot facility at 333 North St. in honor of the Antonuccis.

“The science complex is a fitting symbol of President and Mrs. Antonucci’s leadership and service to Fitchburg State,” Board of Trustees Chairman Martin F. Connors Jr. said. “Their devotion to the institution and its students is legendary, and we are honored that this magnificent building will bear their names.”

President and Mrs. Antonucci each hold two degrees from Fitchburg State.

Construction on the new science building began in 2010, adjacent to the Condike Science Building. Once the new, 55,000-square-foot building was complete, Condike underwent its own year-long renovation. The Antonucci Science Complex contains the new structure as well as the renovated area that is now known as the Condike Wing.

The naming echoes a long tradition at Fitchburg State, where several buildings bear the names of previous presidents.

His accomplishments at Fitchburg State include the drafting of a new strategic plan, structural reorganization, completion of a record-setting capital campaign, and oversight of an unprecedented number of major capital projects, from the science complex to  renovation of the campus center and dining commons and the conversion of the university’s aging outdoor athletic facilities into a new professional-level stadium. He also embarked on an ambitious series of technology initiatives, including establishment of a “wireless” campus, a total upgrade of computer laboratories, and the creation of dozens of new classrooms that allow faculty access to the latest technologies.

From his first days in office, President Antonucci worked to strengthen the university’s commitment to the city of Fitchburg. The multi-year effort to create an attractive boulevard connecting the university’s central artery, North Street, with the city’s Main Street has been accelerated with the purchase of several distressed properties, construction of a new campus police station, relocation of the Center for Professional Studies to Main Street, and completion of the final phase of streetscaping. An exercise and sport science facility was also built in the corridor, and a former public street that ran through the university was redesigned to include a tree-lined plaza connecting a number of residence halls to the main campus.

A 35-year veteran of education, Antonucci served as the Commonwealth’s commissioner of education from 1992 to 1998. He played a key role in the passage and enactment of the state's historic Education Reform Act of 1993, a landmark law that served as a national model. 

In North Central Massachusetts, he has served on countless boards, often in leadership positions, and has received a number of community awards. 

Jeanne S. Antonucci, a former educator who for many years held major leadership positions in the banking industry, has for years been involved in community activities. Over the course of the Antonucci presidency, she has been a tireless ambassador for the university, organizing or attending innumerable campus events.

Her service, past and present, includes a wide variety of volunteer positions in the both the North Central Massachusetts and Falmouth regions. She is a longtime member of the board of directors at Seven Hills Foundation, which offers programming at 170 locations throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and employs more than 3,700 professionals. The foundation offers support and services to over 28,000 children and adults with disabilities, and another 17,000 women and children in developing countries through affiliate organizations.

 A former director of that Falmouth’s Service Center and Babe Ruth League, she was treasurer of the Affordable Housing Task Force and a director of the Upper Cape Cod Visiting Nurses Association. In addition, she was a member of the Falmouth Fair Housing Committee, the Business and Professional Women’s Club’s Scholarship Committee, and a volunteer at the Wang Center in Boston.

Mrs. Antonucci holds two degrees from Fitchburg State University: a bachelor of science degree and a master of education degree. In addition, she has completed a host of professional development seminars and courses.

She began her career as a reading and mathematics teacher in Leominster and Barnstable, then accepted a position as assistant treasurer and branch manager at Plymouth Savings Bank in Falmouth. For the next decade, she held a series of positions in the banking industry, including vice presidencies with a variety of responsibilities at the Bank of New England and Fleet Bank.

The couple has two children, Karen Karson and John Antonucci, and five grandsons.

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