Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, has received the largest gift in the school's history: a $75 million donation that will support the development of a new library and academic quadrangle.
Kenyon President Sean Decatur announced the gift from an anonymous donor and discussed plans for what will be called the West Quad.
“This is an incredible show of confidence in Kenyon’s vision for the liberal arts and sciences,” says Decatur. “This gift advances several priorities of the Kenyon 2020 strategic plan, including our focus on an integrated, comprehensive experience that equips students to thrive at Kenyon and in their lives after.”
The West Quad will consist of three new buildings: the library and academic commons to replace Olin and Chalmers libraries; a new interdisciplinary academic building for the social sciences; and a new home for the offices of admissions and other key student services. Underground parking in the quad will improve accessibility as well as reclaim green space.
Ascension Hall, one of Kenyon's most historic buildings, will be renovated, and Sunset Cottage, another cherished building, will be preserved for future renovation and use.
The gift enables the college to proceed with an expansion of facilities for the English department and to continue apace with its investment in new student housing and improved retail and dining spaces.
The new library will be a hub for undergraduate research and a laboratory for pedagogical innovation. Intentionally interdisciplinary, the new academic building will offer flexible spaces to support high-impact experiences in the humanities and social sciences — student-designed research, capstone projects and other collaborative work.
Once the West Quad and renovations to Ascension are completed, 90 percent of campus classrooms will be fully accessible, — up from 71 percent today.
Replacing Olin and Chalmers libraries represents one of the largest available opportunities to reduce Kenyon’s carbon footprint. The new library is being designed to meet LEED Gold standards for energy efficiency.
The first phase of work, expanding the English facilities, will begin in the fall of 2017. Construction of the library will begin in June 2018 and is expected to be complete in summer 2020. The West Quad project is expected to be complete in summer 2021.
MORE. Video of Kenyon College announcement: