The Gustavian Weekly

Record $40 million donation makes history: Alumni couple changes the future of Gustavus | The Gustavian Weekly

By Caroline Probst - Editor-in-Chief | September 8, 2017 | News

The atrium of Nobel Hall after extensive renovations.

The atrium of Nobel Hall after extensive renovations.

Gustavus should be at the forefront of liberal arts education for years to come thanks to a record-breaking $40 million donation from an anonymous alumni couple.

This remarkable gift is the largest of several significant donations received by the college in recent years.

The series of sizable bequests started in 2011, when Gustavus received its first eight-figure donation of $16 million.

Tom Young, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, described this donation as a major “breakthrough for the school.”

In 2015, that record contribution was topped by a $25 million donation tagged to fund the renovation of the Nobel Hall of Science.

The exterior of Nobel after it is finished being remodeled.

“That [donation] raised the bar for everybody,” he said. “It was because of that $16 million commitment in 2011 that we were able to invite the $25 million commitment that really has become the anchor gift for the renovation of the Nobel Hall of Science.”

The first phase of Nobel’s renovation will occur April through June 2018.

The Schaefer Fine Arts Center and Nobel Hall projects also will be underway then and completed by summer 2019.

The second and final phase of the Nobel activity will be finished by late 2020.

Now, the generosity of alumni has reached the remarkable $40 million mark.

Young is excited about the gift and what the future holds for the college.

“What they [donors] hope is that everybody else will do exactly what they’ve done,” Young said. “They want to be a part of changing the history of the college and are hoping that everybody will join them in making the best possible gift they can make.”

The $40 million gift is one of the largest donations ever given to a Minnesota private college.

Because the Associated Press covered the story, the news spread nationwide and was covered by major news outlets.

A future Chemistry lab once all the new features are added.

As a result, Gustavus has received an outpouring of support and congratulations from alumni and other groups across the country.

Part of the most recent donation contributes to the top-to-bottom renovation of Nobel Hall, work that has been planned for the past six years.

The refreshed building will feature state-of-the-art education and technology resources.

“It really feels touchable,” Julie Bartley, Associate Provost and Dean of Sciences and Education said.

When the labs now in use were built in 1962, teaching methods were very different from today.

The future classrooms were designed with collaborative work in mind and to create an intimate learning environment for all who use them.

Students will have more hands-on work with scientific equipment they likely will use post-graduation.

This remarkable gift is the largest of several significant donations received by the college in recent years.

Another portion of the donation creates scholarships to encourage talented students to attend Gustavus and help build the college’s academic reputation.

These scholarships have already been awarded to handful of current students.

“This is our time,” Young said. “Something is happening for Gustavus right now that I hope we’ll look back on as a point in the history of the college. That sounds big. For the sake of our continued academic excellence, I hope that it is that big.”