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Bruder Addition Named the John J. Mullen Communication Center

Dr. Rosalie Mirenda poses with John and Joan Mullen during the dedication ceremony of the Mullen Communication Center


The new addition to the Thomas A. Bruder, Jr. Life Center was named the John J. Mullen Communication Center at a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 4. Mullen and his wife Joan, longtime friends of the University, gave a leadership gift to the In Giving We Receive campaign, specifically to support the construction of the addition.


Mullen is the founder and former chairman of the Apple Leisure Group, a respected company in the travel industry. From a small travel agency with just three employees in Drexel Hill (Atkinson & Mullen Travel), he expanded the business to provide charter vacations, first to affinity groups and then to the general public. Later, the company (now named Apple Vacations) began to offer cruises that departed from Philadelphia and Baltimore, breaking the monopoly held by the port of New York.


In 2001, Apple Vacations established a hotel division, AMResorts, which now provides sales, marketing and brand management services for over 23 properties with more than 8,000 total rooms. Today, Apple Vacations is one of the largest vacation companies and tour operators in North America, serving nearly one million passengers annually, and has 6,000 employees.


At the dedication ceremony, Mullen said, “Many of the students here today, whatever your course of study, will be part of this new communications wing. This new facility is multi-functional and open to your ideas and your dreams. Use it.”


In explaining the importance of communication skills, he said, “In the future, you will need to communicate your ideas to the public and successfully persuade others to believe in you.” He described the resources in the Communication Center as “here to assist you in achieving higher goals, at a higher level, in your career choice.”


“We are blessed to have friends like these, who believe deeply in Catholic education in the Franciscan tradition,” said Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, Neumann’s president. “With their love and leadership, and your continued support, Neumann is well on its way to its centennial in 2065.”

The 10,000-square-foot Mullen Communication Center was built to support students in the Communications and Digital Media (CDM) major and those who join Neumann Media to explore their creative talents. It includes:


  • Two TV studios with brand new cameras, teleprompters, lights, intercom, news desks, and furniture for informal interviews. CDM classes like audio, advanced TV, and documentary production will be held here.

  • A radio station with three studios, each capable of live broadcasting, recording and editing.

  • Wenger rooms, which allow sound isolation recording and editing. Virtual acoustics let students hear how their recordings will sound in various environments.

  • A meeting room for students. This space could be available for a CDM class to plan a project or for Neumann Media students to prepare a WNUW program.

  • A green room for radio, TV or theater guests.

  • A multipurpose hall with theater-in-the-round capability for musical and dramatic presentations. It contains two projectors with giant screens, two smart board TVs, two robotic cameras, wireless microphones, and video hookups for projection of student laptops or gaming consoles.

Photo of plaque depicting St. Clare of Assisi, the patron saint of television


In addition, the lobby of the Center is home to a plaque honoring St. Clare of Assisi, the patron saint of television. Sr. Marguerite O’Beirne, OSF, vice president for mission and ministry, noted the presence of the plaque at the dedication ceremony. Fr. Stephen Thorne, university chaplain, then blessed the plaque and the entire Mullen Communication Center before the official ribbon-cutting to mark the opening of the wing.


The Communications and Digital Media major, a modernized version of the Communications and Media Arts program, offers students the option to select one of six tracks or areas of emphasis: Production and Digital Broadcasting, Journalism, Strategic Communication, Graphic Design/Visual Communication, New and Social Media, or Sports Communication.