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Alumni and friends of Lafayette College have responded so generously during the Lafayette's current fundraising campaign that the College's board of trustees has voted to increase the goal from $143 million to $165 million.

President Arthur J. Rothkopf told Lafayette trustees on Oct. 23 that Lafayette has already received $140 million in gifts and pledges in the Lafayette Leadership Campaign, which was publicly launched in October 1997 and is scheduled to run until June 30, 2001.

“The ambitious new goal represents an unprecedented challenge for Lafayette,” Rothkopf said. The $22 million increase in the campaign is aimed at funding two major new initiatives, a $15 million expansion and modernization of Skillman Library and $7 million to support intercollegiate athletics.

Lafayette plans to enlarge Skillman Library by 30,000 square feet, more than doubling the space devoted to information technology and addressing a pressing need for increased shelf space for printed materials.

“Skillman Library is the very heart of academic life at Lafayette,” Rothkopf said. “Our plan is to transform it into a learning and information center that will fulfill our promise to offer high-achieving undergraduates in the 21st century the very best possible environment for academic success. It will be the leading symbol on our campus of Lafayette's commitment to academic excellence.”

Lafayette will raise $7 million to support Lafayette's 23-sport, NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics program through a combination of immediately expendable contributions and gifts toward a permanent endowment fund. A supplementary fundraising effort, not officially part of the Lafayette Leadership Campaign, has already raised $2 million for varsity sports this year.

The Lafayette Leadership Campaign is the largest fundraising effort in Lafayette's history and one of the most ambitious campaigns ever undertaken by an undergraduate institution of Lafayette's size. Major gifts to date include

  • $20 million from the F.M. Kirby Foundation, Inc.
  • $10 million from Charles E. Hugel '51 and Cornelia F. Hugel
  • $10 million from Walter Oechsle '57 and Christa Oechsle
  • A bequest in excess of $4 million from the estate of Robert E. Pfenning '32 and Hazel E. Pfenning
  • A challenge gift of $3 million from Edward A. Jesser Jr. '39
  • A major gift of an undisclosed amount from Harry V. Keefe, Jr.

Two new large gifts to the campaign were announced by Rothkopf Friday at a dinner for major contributors:

Campaign chairman Charles E. Hugel, a 1951 graduate, and his wife, Cornelia, made an additional pledge of $3.5 million, bringing their total contribution to $10 million. Lafayette is currently building a new $25 million complex for chemistry, physics, and biochemistry that will be called the Hugel Science Center.

Edward A. (Ned) Jesser Jr., a member of the Class of 1939 and former trustee, made a challenge gift of $3 million that will enable Lafayette to renovate and modernize one of its largest residence halls, called South College. In recognition, a wing of the renovated South College will be named Jesser Hall.

Dramatic evidence of the campaign's success to date is reflected in the major construction and renovation projects that are transforming the campus. Currently in progress are construction of the $25 million Hugel Science Center and the $26.5 million Allan P. Kirby Sports Center, in addition to a $3.5 million renovation of the former Hoffmann Motors building on North Third Street into a studio and gallery complex for the visual arts.

Projects already completed include the new, $7 million Keefe Hall, a 117-bed student residence; and renovations of $1 million each to P. T. Farinon House and Conway House, two special residences for first-year students. An $8.5 million renovation of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights was also recently completed.

Several campaign-funded projects are poised to begin soon, including a radical transformation of Alumni Memorial Gymnasium into state of the art facilities for the psychology and neuroscience programs, an initiative made possible by the $10 million gift from Walter and Christa Oechsle. Lafayette will also construct an Alumni Center at the north end of Alumni Gym, where Blair Hall is now located.

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