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$2M Gift Pledged For Union Overhaul

By Nelson C. Hsu

The Kresge Foundation has pledged a $2 million grant to support the renovation and transformation of the Freshman Union into a humanities center for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The grant is contingent on the University raising an additional $8 million in grants for the center by February 1, 1997.

"We are grateful to The Kresge Foundation for its magnificent commitment to the center for the humanities and to our overall goals for enhancing humanities teaching and scholarship at Harvard," said Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles in yesterday's Gazette.

The announcement has launched an effort to meet the challenge by the deadline.

"We're now organizing an effort to really begin the challenge ahead and hopefully in the next four to five weeks we'll have something to report to the Harvard community," Andrew K. Tiedemann, director of communications in the University Development Office, said in an interview yesterday. "We are confident we will reach our goal."

In addition to the funding itself, the challenge will also entice alumni and corporations to support the center, according to President Neil L. Rudenstine.

"We believe the challenge commitment from the Kresge Foundation will provide a powerful incentive for donors at all giving levels to support this project and bring it to successful completion," Rudenstine said in the Harvard Gazette yesterday.

In addition to the Kresge commitment, Harvard has secured $15 million in commitments from other sources for the humanities center. The total estimated cost of the project is $25 million, according to the Gazette.

The humanities center will be based in the renovated Freshman Union and Burr Hall. The complex will house 12 humanities departments whose offices are currently spread out across the campus.

Current plans call for major reconstruction and reconfiguration of some parts of the building.

This plan has been a source of heard debate between University administrators and historical preservationists.

The Michigan-based Kresge Foundation was established by Sebastian S. Kresge in 1924 as a private foundation "to promote the well-being of mankind."

The organization awards grants to charitable institutions involved in higher education, the humanities, health care, human services, public service, science and the environment.

In the past, The Kresge Foundation has donated more than $12 million to Harvard to help build facilities at the Kennedy School of Government, the Medical School, the Business School, the School of Public Health and Widener Library.

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