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Alvernia University Names PLEX to Honor Longest-Serving President

May 07, 2018 • by Alvernia University
Alvernia University

Tom and Helen Flynn Complex to be centerpiece of new East Campus

(READING, Pa.) – During a groundbreaking ceremony for Alvernia’s new Recreation, Wellness and Health Sciences Complex, the university’s Board of Trustees announced that it had unanimously voted to name the facility the “Tom and Helen Flynn Complex.” The Flynn PLEX will be the centerpiece of Alvernia’s new East Campus.

After 14 years of transformational leadership, the extraordinary journey of Thomas F. Flynn as president of Alvernia University will end June 2019. During his tenure as the longest serving president in Alvernia’s history, the university became a comprehensive, regional university, guided by its inclusive Franciscan core values, now recognized as a national leader in community service and civic engagement.  

Helen Flynn, Dr. Flynn’s wife and partner in many university activities, and recently retired as director of the Mifflin Community Library, is now a volunteer librarian and board member within the Berks County library system. She is the first recipient of the inaugural award recognizing a library professional for mentoring and leadership in Berks County.

“As a couple, Tom and Helen have been outstanding role models for Alvernia and the entire community,” said Angel Helm, Alvernia board member and Plex campaign co-chair. “You have loved Alvernia like you love you own family. So, it’s only fitting that we place your signatures on Alvernia’s, most ambitious project ever — the PLEX — to be forever known as the Tom and Helen Flynn Complex.”

Due to open in the fall of 2019, the innovative Tom and Helen Flynn Complex is the largest, most ambitious, expansion in university history, adding more than 100,000 square feet of academic, recreation and athletic space and 15 acres to campus. It will include a major academic building in addition to a fieldhouse and indoor track that will expand recreational opportunities for all students and support Alvernia’s 22 varsity athletic teams.

The Flynn PLEX will house leading-edge inter-professional education programs, designed to promote shared learning and integrative practices across a broad spectrum of healthcare and human service fields. This real world clinical approach helps students develop expertise within their individual disciplines while enhancing understanding of other fields and demonstrating the importance of teamwork and effective communications in integrated patient care.

As a university with prominent healthcare and human services programs and a long-time commitment to the local community, Alvernia will expand its popular doctorate in physical therapy and other successful health science programs with the new facility. Expansion of those programs will significantly grow the number of Alvernia trained nurses and healthcare professionals produced each year. 

“Like many of their fellow students, many of these individuals will continue to work and live in Reading and Berks County after graduating, contributing to both the local community’s civic vitality and the region’s economy, and helping to directly address a demonstrated shortage of healthcare workers in the area,” said Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn, who plans to remain in the area, making a new home in Reading. 

“I look forward to my new work nationally and to a more relaxed lifestyle, but I will not be leaving Alvernia behind,” said Flynn, 65, reflecting on the next stage of his life, including almost 20 years served as a college president. “I will continue to rejoice in the achievements of our students and alums and be a passionate advocate for Alvernia.”

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