Croce donation will expand WCU’s Center for Contemplative Studies

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website and the Delaware County Daily Times‘ website.
Pat Croce, former owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, is donating $250,000 to West Chester University’s Center for Contemplative Studies in order to expand the center. (Candice Monhollan)

Pat Croce, former owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, is donating $250,000 to West Chester University’s
Center for Contemplative Studies in order to expand the center. (Candice Monhollan)

WEST GOSHEN — Pat Croce is no stranger to West Chester University. As an alumnus, he went on to become a sports legend in the Philadelphia area after turning the Philadelphia 76ers from the worst team in the NBA to the best as owner.

Now, Croce will become a legend to the university as well after West Chester announced Thursday afternoon that he and his wife, Diane, are giving $250,000 to the university’s Center for Contemplative Studies.

“(This) is a very special program to announce a major expansion of our Center for Contemplative Studies thanks to the generosity of Pat and Diane Croce,” said Mark Pavlovich, vice president for Advancement and Research and Sponsored Programs at the university. “WCU will be positioned to provide our students and campus community with an unprecedented access to contemplative practice, including mindfulness education.”

Why is Croce giving this gift specifically for the Center for Contemplative Studies?

It’s because he has been on a journey to find an inner strength and peacefulness through these contemplative studies, such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness.

…[Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

“Leadership has been in my bones for a long time now,” Croce said to the gathered crowd at the university’s Alumni and Foundation building. “Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a relatively new life experience, life approach for me. I’m extremely anxious and excited about it. I’ve realized that my leadership career has a wide path. I’ve realized that it wasn’t ‘me,’ but it was ‘we.’ I’ve worked with amazing individuals. It’s a ‘we’ game when you’re talking about leadership.”

The university currently has a minor in Contemplative Studies and a stress reduction center since 2006.

Now, with the Croces’ donation, the center can grow exponentially both academically and physically.

“We are presently hanging our shingle at Sykes in Room 209,” said Christine Moriconi, co-founder of the Contemplative Studies at the university. “We do meditations with our graduate assistants.”

This donation will help with getting a dedicated physical space where people can go learn and practice the studies and also bring in a larger staff.

“It wasn’t really until we had this support of our donors that has really helped us so significantly in terms of bringing together the many fragments of contemplative studies that have been going on throughout the campus,” Moriconi said.

For the announcement of the donation and the expansion of the center, Croce spoke briefly to the few hundred students and faculty who crowded into the building to hear him speak.

“It’s great for Diane and I to return here to the campus,” he said. “We have some great memories here and it looks like we plan to make more. It’s an exciting time for us to be here.”

He also spoke about his journey in these studies since first becoming aware of it last year and his desire to share the insights he has learned along the way.

“On this journey of mine on self-development and self-realization — a journey without a distance — I’ve come across unbelievable spiritual teachings and learnings,” Croce said. “I believe the secret of leadership is integrating the head with the heart.”

The donation, which is the largest gift to the College of Health Sciences has received to support an academic program, Pavlovich said, can help the university achieve its goal to become a national leader in the field of contemplative studies.

“The goal is to foster empathy and communication skills to improve focus and attention, to reduce stress and to enhance creativity and just general well-being,” said Linda Adams, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “The generous gift from the Croces will allow us to provide students on our campus with a fundamental understanding, a mindfulness of contemplative studies, and it will provide an opportunity for students to cultivate these skills and apply them in everyday life.”

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