27th Avenue employees tap into campus energy
Story by Karen Fernau
Photos by Ralph Freso
GCU News Bureau
For Grand Canyon University doctoral adviser Mark Cruise, the recent move into his new office on campus has delivered an unexpected perk.
A mega-boost of GCU enthusiasm.
“I love being on campus because I feel the energy, feel the dynamics of what GCU is all about,” he said.
“No doubt, being here has made my job more exciting.”
Working in the new four-story, office complex at 27th Avenue and Camelback Road also makes it easier for Cruise to describe the campus to the students he works with daily.
And, like so many of the 2,700 employees in the complex, he enjoys taking advantage of all GCU offers, from cheering on the men’s basketball team to grabbing a burger at a campus eatery.
“I go to every game I can,” Cruise said. “The basketball’s great and the atmosphere is exciting.”
Employees of 27th Avenue attended en masse Wednesday’s press conference celebrating their new office complex, GCU’s eight years of unparalleled growth and successful efforts to revitalize the nearby Canyon Corridor neighborhood.
Many of those attending said their new, 325,000 square-foot-office building stands as a symbol of GCU’s commitment to top-tier academic, spiritual and social experiences.
They also said being on campus instead of branch offices in north Phoenix and Tempe makes it easier to connect with GCU’s mission to improve homes, add jobs and decrease crime in Canyon Corridor, a struggling neighborhood between 43rd Avenue and Interstate 17 and Bethany Home and Indian School roads.
Monique Charres, a human resources generalist, fits squarely into this group.
“I totally support helping the community around GCU, and working here makes it easier for me to get involved,” said Charres, who volunteers with Canyon Cares, a campus group that brings holidays to disadvantaged families in Canyon Corridor.
“The mission is as important to me as the building.”
Mike Cerefice, an academic counselor, said his weekday trips to campus also act as reminders of GCU’s pledge to help its neighbors.
“It’s an amazing experience, and working on campus makes me feel more a part of what this university is all about,” he said.
Same goes for Sarah Hirose, an accounting manager.
Hirose, who has worked at GCU for 10 years, said she now more than ever enjoys walking through nearby parks or shopping in neighborhood grocery stores decked out in her GCU purple.
“I like being stopped on the street by total strangers who ask if I work for GCU. I tell them yes and am proud every time I say I do,” she said.
Gary Kerekes, an IT quality engineer, said he is more plugged into campus since moving into his 27th Avenue cubicle.
“I like working on campus so much I’m considering moving to this neighborhood. I like being in the heart of things,” he said.
Ditto for his co-worker Marianne Franco, a business analyst. She especially likes being able to walk to a fitness center in an adjacent building to work out during lunch.
After the press conference, Kim Henning, an online counselor with one daughter who’s a GCU alum and a second who’s a sophomore, said hearing about GCU’s rousing success is inspirational.
“It’s really an amazing place,” she said, “and I am excited about the future growth.”
She’s also excited to work in an office complex surrounded by parks and adjacent to a hotel and restaurant.
“It feels like I work at a resort. I love it.”
● For the main story on the event, click here.
Contact Karen Fernau at (602) 639-8344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.