Ancilla College executives have broken ground on a $6 million residence hall and student center. Board president Francis Ellert says the project, the first of its kind on the Marshall County campus, has been in the works for more than a decade. The buildings are set to open August 1. March 11, 2015

News Release

DONALDSON, Ind. – Warm temperatures Tuesday were the harbinger of good things to come at Ancilla College where the board of trustees broke ground for a three-story residence hall and student life dining center opening Aug. 1.

“This was meant to be,” said President Dr. Ken Zirkle.

“It is no accident we have beautiful weather for this magnificent project,” he said to a gathered crowd of nearly 75 dignitaries, community members, present and past board members, sisters, developers, faculty and staff.

Sr. Judith Diltz, provincial of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, opened the ceremony with a prayer. “This is a new step… we need to do that in a prayerful way,” she told the crowd.

“If the Lord doesn't build the house, we all labor in vain.”

The Ancilla College board of trustees voted in December to move ahead with the $6 million project financed by First Source Bank.

Chris Murphy chairman of the board and CEO of First Source noted parallels between his bank, established in 1863, just five years before the college's sponsor, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. Murphy said both organizations have been dedicated to educating immigrants. “Education was critical for my family to be successful,” he said, noting First Source makes financing education projects a business priority.

Board president Francis Ellert said the project has been a dream for the school for more than a decade and that it is happening now is a “testament to this community.”

The residence hall will be home for nearly 100 new students who previously could not attend the historically commuter-only college. The project includes a separate dining facility, fitness area, media center, two-story lobby with fireplace and prayer rooms, in keeping with the Catholic social thought that founded the school in 1937.

Building plans are managed by Michael Kinder and Sons, Inc., of Fort Wayne.

In addition to the building project, the school is adding an agriculture program and women's golf and soccer teams.

Also attending the gathering were Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter, Marshall County Planning Director Ralph Booker and representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly and U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski.

“The building project is historic. This is a great time to be a part of Ancilla College,” said Vice President of Enrollment Eric Wignall.

“We're adding residential life to what is widely regarded as one of the more beautiful campuses in Indiana. Ancilla offers a safe, rural campus with a lake and nearby athletic fields. The College has high quality academic programs with small classes that guarantee a personal relationship with your teachers. Our students can't help but succeed at Ancilla College, whatever their goals may be.”

Wignall emphasized the low tuition and living costs that Ancilla has put in place. “It doesn't hurt that we are the lowest priced private college in Indiana,” he said. “We offer fixed tuition at $14,100 a year for students taking up to 17 credit hours a semester. That's locked in as long as you are a full-time student. Our room and board is only $8,500, and that includes 19 meals a week, free laundry facilities, wireless internet access and even parking.”

The College is hosting an open house, Access Ancilla Day, March 11, with free lunch and information on degrees, housing, financial aid and more for potential students and families who want to learn more. Visit for details.

Ancilla College (, part of The Center at Donaldson, offers 18 associate degrees and 10 athletic programs. Since 1937, the College has been a sponsored ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. It is a small, private, liberal arts school in Donaldson, Indiana. It is located two miles south of U.S. 30 on Union Road near Plymouth, Indiana.

Source: Ancilla College

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