Jack Cassell’s AU roots run deep. They began growing when he was just a little boy. Cassell, SOC/BA ’77, a current trustee and longtime supporter of the university, recalls his first memory of this place.
He was about four years old and his father, Stafford H. “Pop” Cassell, CAS/BA ’36, who was an AU student, coach, athletic director, and vice president, looked for permanent housing, the university rented them an apartment on campus. It was the first time the younger Cassell remembers feeling like a part of the AU community.
When his father died six years later, Cassell felt AU’s spirit even more acutely. Pop’s colleagues looked out for Cassell’s widowed mother, Carolyn, and the rest of the family. Cassell always remembered that AU generosity.
“That catapulted me to want to give back,” Cassell said.
On Monday, AU announced its newest residence hall will be named Cassell Hall in honor of the Cassell family. The naming recognizes $3 million in gifts made by Cassell, his wife, Denise, and the Cassell family to support the residence hall’s construction and AU’s Department of Athletics and Recreation.
This is the first AU residence hall to be named for a philanthropic gift, and the first to be built on campus since Centennial Hall opened in 1987. The building, currently in construction behind the President’s Office Building, will reach eight stories and will accommodate beds for 360 upperclassmen in suite-style rooms.
Cassell Hall will feature an 8,000-square-foot fitness facility, to be named the Stafford H. Cassell Jr. Fitness Center in honor of Cassell’s twin brother and fellow AU alumnus. This new facility will double the amount of fitness space on the main campus.
“This is an extraordinary gift from the Cassell family. The new residence hall will allow more students to live on campus and provide more recreational, dining and activity space,” said Thomas J. Minar, vice president of development. “Cassell Hall marks the first major building initiative of the university’s remarkable 2011 Campus Plan.”
In keeping with AU’s commitment to sustainability, Cassell Hall is designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)Gold certification. The School of International Service building also earned that designation in 2011.