Donnelly Hall was built
by Brother Nilus Vincent with the help of an army of volunteer
Marist Brothers. For three summers, these Marist Brothers
laid aside their teaching duties and traveled to the Marist
College campus where they worked, slept and worked some more.
Brother Nilus who designed
and supervised the construction of Donnelly personally operated
the bulldozer, crane and other heavy construction equipment.
His first task was to survey the property and then to level
the mound of earth that existed where Donnelly now stands.
Donnelly Hall is named for Brother Nilus Vincent Donnelly.
After the blessing of
the site by Cardinal Spellman in 1958, the Marist Brothers
manually dug the holes for the foundation pillars. They had
to overcome many obstacles, one of which was the water seepage
from an underground stream into the foundation holes. This
water had to be pumped out and directed away from the work
site. Brother Nilus' foreman, Brother Edward "Eddie Mike"
Michael seemed to be everywhere directing the day's work activities.
Each day a discarded
hearse was used to transport refreshments to the thirsty working
brothers. A cluster of nearby trees provided them with a rest
break during the hot, humid, summer days.
Slowly the foundation
and concrete walls were poured. The prefabricated wooden roof
beams weighing several tons each were lifted into place by
Brother Nilus' crane and secured by the brothers. Donnelly
began to take shape.
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