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College announces $8.9 million in new gifts

The strategic plan includes a proposal to turn Ryan Gym, now known as the Old Gym or VCAM, into a visual culture, arts and digital media center.

This weekend the College announced three gifts totaling $8.9 million, which will go toward endowing a new professorship in Quaker Studies, fund the purchase of books and technology related to the humanities for Magill Library, and completes more than half the funding required for the new media center planned for Ryan Gym.

Over half the funding for the Ryan Gym renovations, $7.5 million, was given by anonymous donors toward the center for visual culture, arts and media, or VCAM.

The center was discussed at length last year and at this weekend’s Board of Managers meeting as part of the draft strategic plan, along with a number of other large capital projects such as renovations to Magill, Union and Roberts and Sharpless.

VCAM will “provide a valuable curricular anchor for visual studies across all disciplines, establish a new slate of technology-based educational opportunities for our students, revitalize a wasting asset at the center of our campus, and transform Haverford’s image as a place for innovation,” according to a summary provided by the College.

Ryan Gym is named after Tommy Ryan ’46, a former Board and Corporation member, who has “happily agreed” to the building’s renaming, according to the summary. A grove of trees off College Lane has instead been named in his honor.

The College also announced a gift of $500,000 by Marlis Gildemeister ’45, which completes the $2.5 million needed to endow the Douglas and Dorothy Steere Professorship in Quaker Studies.

Finally, $900,000 was given by Donald Stone ’59, Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, to create The Stone Fund for the Humanities, an endowed fund to purchase books and technology related to the humanities for Magill, with a preference for French literature.

A full summary of these gifts is attached at the bottom of this article.

According to chief of staff Jesse Lytle, the $8.9 million in gifts was raised since Weiss’s arrival to the College.

In addition to special events for family and friends weekend and in his honor, Weiss had a full schedule of meetings planned around Saturday’s Inauguration ceremony. This weekend was Weiss’s first meeting with the Board in his official capacity as president.

The Board received updates on budgeting and strategic planning and continued discussions on the viability the no loan financial aid policy.

The Board’s Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility also met to deliberate on a recommendation to the larger body about divesting the endowment from fossil fuel companies, a response to ongoing efforts by students over the past year to rid the College’s investments of companies that contribute to global climate change.

Lytle says the investment committee’s decision, as well as a full report on the October board meeting, will be available in about a week.

For a full summary of the gifts: Major Gifts

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