Two prominent Penn families are the lead donors to a new Hill Field college house, a project that will break ground on Friday.
The University announced Thursday that Stephen and Barbara Heyman, along with members of the Lauder family, have contributed substantially to the college house. Their specific donation amounts are not being disclosed.
Penn President Amy Gutmann said last month that the University has raised about $60 million so far toward the new college house. The project will cost an estimated $125 million overall. Construction on the college house, which is slated to open in the fall of 2016, will begin in the coming months.
The project is Penn’s first-ever residential building designed specifically as a college house.
Most of the family members are Penn alumni, and several sit on the Board of Trustees. The families will be recognized at Friday’s celebration of the college house’s groundbreaking, which follows a Board of Trustees meeting.
Stephen Heyman, a 1959 Wharton graduate and emeritus trustee, said he had been in talks with Gutmann about giving to the new college house since around 2008. He said donating to the college house was a way to support the “bricks and mortar” of the University’s development moving forward.
“This was just a good opportunity to create fresh housing for 350 undergraduates, and it’s something that’s going to serve many generations in the future,” Heyman said.
Heyman has donated in the past to several endowed professorships at Penn. In 2010, he gave $5 million to create the I. George Heyman Penn Integrates Knowledge professorship, which is now held by psychology and marketing professor Barbara Mellers.
The Lauder family — represented by the Lauder Foundation, a philanthropic organization — has also been a prominent donor to the University. In 1983, Leonard and Ronald Lauder founded Penn’s Lauder Institute, a joint degree program that integrates management education with international studies.
Leonard and Ronald, 1954 and 1965 Wharton graduates, respectively, will be among the Lauder family members in attendance at Friday’s groundbreaking.
The new college house, which will hold around 350 students in suite-style rooms, will also contain a new dining venue, seminar rooms, a media center and a large multipurpose space. It will be built around a central courtyard.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, a Philadelphia-based design firm, will be working on the project.
The University has yet to announce a formal naming gift for the college house; Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations John Zeller said last month that he does not expect a naming gift announcement to come this semester.
Gutmann said in an interview that the Heymans and Lauders “have made it possible for us to move full steam ahead with this.”
“And we only move projects full steam ahead when we get the contributions necessary to do so,” she said.
Friday’s celebration of the new college house will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Hill Field. It is open to all PennCard holders.
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