FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Sacred Heart University will name its new student commons in honor of Board of Trustees member Linda E. McMahon. McMahon, who provided a $5 million gift to the university for capital projects such as the student commons, has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2004. The Linda E. McMahon commons will be dedicated at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 13.
“We are incredibly lucky to have the friendship of someone like Linda McMahon. Her gift shows her commitment to both our students and to our vision to make a strong, thriving University even stronger. She is extremely generous to us with her time and resources,” said Dr. John J. Petillo, president of Sacred Heart. “She is a leader in every sense of the word, and we are very grateful for her expertise and generosity.”
Linking the University’s academic, spiritual and extracurricular cores, as well as its upper and lower campuses, the distinctive V-shaped Linda E. McMahon Commons will serve as a physical and social crossroads, while providing a variety of services to meet the evolving needs of the University’s students. The new building will offer a bookstore, a 250-seat student dining hall, a private dining room with a hearth and seating for 50, informal lounge spaces, outside seating, a presentation room, the career counseling center and much more. The building is 46,000 gross square feet and was designed by Sasaki Associates, Inc. The total cost of construction was $22 million.
“I am extremely honored to have my name on this beautiful building. I support Sacred Heart University because of my commitment to the students, to education and, most importantly, because I believe in the University’s commitment to excellence and its mission to shape graduates who know themselves, are rooted in faith and are committed to social responsibility as they go out into the world. If I can set any kind of example for them, I have more than done my job,” McMahon said. “My reward has always been to see successful SHU alumni making their mark, but it means a lot that the University has chosen to honor me in this way.”
McMahon is widely recognized as one of the country’s top business executives, helping WWE, headquartered in Stamford, CT, grow from a modest, 13-person company to a global enterprise with more than 600 employees. In 2007, she was named a Multichannel News “Wonder Woman,” recognizing her accomplishments as a leader in the U.S. cable television industry for her work as chief executive officer of WWE. In addition to her success in the boardroom, Linda has been instrumental in nurturing a wide variety of community and charitable programs. She spearheaded the creation of Get R.E.A.L education and literacy programs, including WWE’s nationwide Reading Challenge in partnership with the youth division of the American Library Association. In 2004, the Make-A-Wish Foundation Awarded WWE its highest honor, and in 2005, McMahon was appointed to the organization’s National Advisory Council. Under her leadership, WWE received the first-ever Legacy of Hope Award, given in honor of Bob Hope, for its extensive support of our troops from the USO of metropolitan Washington, D.C. In 2007, the company received the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award for its support of deployed service members in Iraq and Afghanistan. McMahon also serves on the board of the Close Up Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to educate and inspire young people to participate in our democracy. In 2009, she was appointed by Governor M. Jodi Rell to serve on the Connecticut Board of Education.
Since stepping down as chief executive officer of WWE in 2009, McMahon has been active with her family foundation to support various Connecticut organizations and programs that promote entrepreneurship and education. Born in New Bern, NC, she graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in French. She lives in Greenwich with her husband of 45 years, Vince. They have two adult children, Shane and Stephanie, and six grandchildren.