Tepas Commons Offers Fisher Students Space to Build Community

January 18, 2022

On Friday, Jan. 14, St. John Fisher College opened the doors to the Dennis ’72 and Denise Tepas Commons, a newly designed student space located in the heart of the Donald E. Bain Campus Center. Formerly known as the Campus Center Mainstage, Tepas Commons is named in honor of Dennis ’72 and Denise Tepas, whose significant philanthropy made the transformation possible.

Tepas Commons opened for student use on Friday, Jan. 14.

“Dennis and Denise’s extraordinary generosity has enabled us to create a vibrant and welcoming venue that will enable our students to experience a sense of community and comfort,” said President Gerard J. Rooney. “The Tepas Commons will be a gathering place to relax, meet, study, and socialize. I am most grateful for Dennis’ service and leadership to his alma mater and for his and Denise’s legacy of philanthropic support for the College.”

Tepas Commons is outfitted with comfortable sitting booths, Apple TV enabled entertainment, and a modern, cozy fireplace that creates a living room-like atmosphere for students. The gift is also funding the creation of the Terrace at Tepas Commons, an outdoor patio that will include all-weather seating. It will be in use year-round thanks to the radiant heated concrete around the fire pit. The College will host a formal grand opening and dedication for Tepas Commons with the completion of the Terrace later this spring.

Michael Lilholt ’23, president of the Student Government Association, said the space adds a fresh look to the Campus Center while addressing student need for gathering places.

Students quickly made themselves at home in the newly opened Tepas Commons.

“Tepas Commons enhances our campus community by serving as another great place to hang out and get work done,” he said. “I personally am extremely excited to use it as a new study spot with friends and am looking forward to seeing familiar faces in the new space.”

The Tepas’ have been active members of the College community. An alumnus of the College, Dennis Tepas served as a member and three-year president of the Alumni Board of Directors, and will celebrate the 50th reunion of his class in fall 2022. As an undergraduate, he served as secretary and treasurer of his class, and the experience drives his belief in enhancing student life on campus. In addition to this latest gift, they created an endowed scholarship in their name in 2009, and are members of the 1948 Society, Fisher’s planned giving society. The Tepas’ are now members of the Presidents Society, which honors philanthropists for their lifetime giving to the College.

“We are deeply honored to make this contribution to St. John Fisher College. For the last 50 years, Fisher has been a very special place for us, and we are pleased to be a part of the Fisher community,” said Tepas. “The Tepas Commons will be an indoor and outdoor area where students can gather and grow both academically and socially. We feel very blessed to make this contribution on behalf of the generations of Fisher students who will utilize this space.”