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How Grand It Was!

Moravian University celebrates the grand opening of its new Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center.

Nearly two years ago, Moravian University President Bryon Grigsby ’90 went to the 24/7 Fitness Center on Schoenersville Road for his early morning workout—and it was locked.

It wasn’t long before his shock and confusion morphed into an idea, the type of big idea Grigsby is making himself known for as the University’s 16th President. In the weeks leading up to the sudden lockout, Grigsby met with Richard Anderson, President and CEO for St. Luke’s, and mused about their hopes to continue the Moravian University-St. Luke’s partnership in the sports medicine arena.

Ding ding! Standing in his shorts outside his now defunct gym, an idea was born.

Two years later, Moravian University celebrated the opening of its new Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center, located at 1441 Schoenersville Road, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 23. The newly furnished open concept lobby was teeming with members of the community, including Moravian University faculty, staff, students, alumni and trustees, members of state and local government, and even former Phillies pitcher and Hall of Fame member Steve Carlton. A short program of speakers told the story of the building they were standing in: Moravian University acquired the former racquetball court-turned fitness center in and, in a 7-month construction period with JG Petrucci, turned it into the premier educational and practicing sports medicine and rehabilitation space where students and professionals stand side by side. And when the ribbon was officially cut, Congressman Charlie Dent presented a certificate of special recognition to the University and St. Luke’s.

“Moravian University has always been a place where there is great unification between the professional program and the liberal arts,” says Grigsby of his first building dedication as President of the University. “Since the founding of our first professional degree in the Seminary, we have been able to create better preachers, teachers, business leaders, and nurses through the study of the liberal arts. Today, we further that noble history by adding new professional programs that infuse the liberal arts into their studies.”

The 43,000+ square-foot building is now the home of the University’s brand new Master of Science in Athletic Training program, as well as the future Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy doctorate programs—positioning Moravian University as one of just three liberal arts colleges in the country to house these programs under one roof. 10,000 square feet of the building is designated for St. Luke’s University Health Network, where their top notch care providers are already rehabilitating area athletes and community members with cutting edge equipment, including an anti-gravity treadmill.

That’s right—Moravian University and St. Luke’s are no longer just partners in education, they’re roommates.

“When it comes to true partnership, there’s simply no substitute for being in the same space,” says Robert Martin, senior vice president for network development for St. Luke’s and one of the speakers at the ribbon-cutting. The program also included remarks from John Hauth, senior director of sports medicine relationships for St. Luke’s; Steven Soba, vice president for enrollment at Moravian University; and James Scifers, DScPT, director of athletic training and interim director for physical therapy programs at the University. “The ultimate vision for us together looks like this: we're going to have one of the most highly recognized sports medicine programs in the country.”

The building is a physical embodiment of experiential learning. Guests were treated to student-led tours of the new space, complete with six research labs, student collaboration areas, a distance learning classroom and 14 faculty offices. “While undergraduate education in Health Sciences focuses on theory and a firm foundation in the Liberal Arts, much of the student's professional, graduate education requires hands-on learning, practice time and reflection,” explains Scifers, who has only been on campus full time since January of this year. Not only will his students work side-by-side with St. Luke’s professionals, they’ll also work together across disciplines in the space. “The health care environment focuses on inter-disciplinary care of the patient, with multiple health care professionals working on teams to provide the most comprehensive care. This learning environment creates a more well-rounded health care professional and, more importantly, a better overall patient experience and outcome.”

All the elements at play—the new, state-of-the-art building, the passionate faculty, the strong and authentic partnership, the unique education—is a sign of what’s to come for the University at large. “Moravian University is a school that continues to grow and develop,” says Soba. “In our fast-paced, ever-changing society, we continue to listen to the communities we serve and deliver innovative programs that meet their needs. Why stop now? Moravian University has been doing just that for the past 274 years.”