Before Michael Hemesath became the first lay president of SJU in 2012, its presidents had always been monks, who had housing on campus. Not only was Dr. Hemesath not a monk, he also had a family. After an initial year of living in Frank House while his family stayed in Northfield, a 35-acre property was purchased on Fruit Farm Road, a few miles past Flynntown, to serve as the SJU President’s residence. The president and his family moved into the house on August 16th, 2013.
Rather than building a new house, which had been the original plan, it was decided that the already-standing house on the property would be renovated. After repairs, the cost of the house totaled $725,000.
This was the first piece of land ever to be owned outright by the university. The remainder of the campus buildings and grounds are rented from the Abbey.
Kelso, Erin. "Our White House: SJU President moves into new university home," The Record, 6 September 2013, p.1 & 6.
Text drafted by Olivia Schleper '23