$10 Million Gift Opens New Chapter at Willamette University

The largest personal donation in the history of Willamette University will assist the University in constructing a $16 million, 46,000-square-foot academic building that will house the departments of mathematics, computer science, rhetoric and media studies, as well as digital arts and film studies programs, beginning in the fall of 2009. The building will also house the University's arts and technology program.

The $10 million total includes an $8 million gift from an anonymous donor, plus a $2 million contribution from the University's Board of Trustees. The remaining $6 million will be raised through ongoing fund-raising efforts. The gift and the commitment from the Board of Trustees were announced at the board meeting Oct. 14.

The $8 million donation is the second largest gift in University history; Tokyo International University of America contributed $11 million in 2003 in support of Kaneko Commons, an undergraduate residence hall that opened in August.

The $10 million contribution brings the Campaign for Willamette total to $85.1 million, which is 68 percent of the campaign goal of $125 million. The campaign was announced last December.

"This new academic building opens a new chapter in the life of this distinguished University," said Willamette University President M. Lee Pelton. "The additional space allows us to add 25 new professors to our full-time tenure-track faculty, an increase of 20 percent. The end result is increased mentoring and increased research collaboration among students and faculty. From the outside, it is a new building. From the inside, it speaks to opportunity and innovative pedagogy."

The new structure will be located on the northeast corner of the campus near Gatke Hall and running parallel to State Street. By moving several departments and programs into the new academic building, space will be freed in Collins Science Center, Eaton Hall and Smullin Hall for expansion in science, social science and humanities disciplines.

"The location of the new academic building is also significant for the City of Salem," added Pelton. "We are eager to welcome Salem community members who live and work near this location to visit the planned student gallery and the sculpture courtyard. From this location, across the street from the State Capitol and the Supreme Court Building, it is a short walk to the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and the Art Building."

The architectural firm and building contractor for this project have yet to be named.

The most recent campus construction projects include Kaneko Commons (2006), the art building addition (2003), Eaton Hall remodel (2003), Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center (1998), Collins Science Center renovation (1996) and the Olin Science Center (1996).