New College House will be renamed as Lauder College House after a major donation from the Lauder family.
Penn President Amy Gutmann revealed the name today at an event celebrating the first cohort of fourth-year residents in NCH's Heyman Courtyard, flanked by blue and red balloons and filled with students with backpacks and staff members in suits. Two generations of the Lauder family stood beside Gutmann on the temporary stage, where together they pulled down the drapes to a plaque displaying the dorm's new name.
NCH opened in fall 2016 after nearly three years of construction and $127 million in costs. The 198,000 square foot dorm is a four-year house, but was restricted to freshman during its first year open to residents. NCH was the first college house constructed at Penn in over 40 years, and was approved by the Board of Trustees in September 2013.
At the ceremony, NCH Faculty Director and Classical Studies professor Cam Grey gave an overview of the the dorm's history and motto. Gutmann then took the stage, where she introduced Wharton graduates Ronald and William Lauder – who have made prominent donations to Penn over the past few decades – to help her reveal the new name.
“Despite it all, we’re still missing something,” she said. “Something essential, until today. So we’re going to fix that right now. So, Ronald and William, will you please come up to the stage?”
The Lauder family were lead contributors in supporting the construction of New College House, along with 1959 Wharton graduate and emeritus trustee Stephen Heyman and his wife, Barbara Heyman. The Lauder family — represented by the Lauder Foundation, a philanthropic organization — has been a prominent donor to Penn. In 1983, brothers Leonard and Ronald Lauder, whose mother was Estée Lauder, founded the Penn's Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies in their father's namesake. The Lauder brothers graduated from Penn in 1954 and 1965, respectively.
In early 2018, 1983 Wharton graduate William Lauder, executive chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies, donated $4 million to the Wharton Leadership Fellows Program. Lauder, whose dad is Leonard, is currently a member of the Board of Trustees as well as a faculty member at Wharton. Lauder's nephew, Joshua, graduated from the College in 2019 and lived in NCH. He also attended the ceremony and made a short speech on stage along with his relatives.
Gutmann said in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian that she and the Board of Trustees decided on the name of the dorm, which was then approved by the family. She said she doesn’t remember when the decision was made but said the naming ceremony was delayed until now at the request of the Lauder family.
The suite-style rooms in the renamed college house range from two to six people per room, housing around 350 students total. The building features a number of amenities, including its own dining hall, a media screening room, group study rooms, music practice rooms, and two seminar rooms, all built around a central courtyard. The official groundbreaking ceremony for the dorm took place on November 8, 2014, nearly five years ago.