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The Hutchins Family Foundation, endowed by Glenn H. Hutchins ’77, has donated $30 million to Harvard to support House renewal and academic initiatives in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the University announced Wednesday.
In addition to specifying usage of the funds, the Foundation established the Hutchins Family Challenge Fund for House Renewal, which will match gifts from other donors who pledge their funds to the continued improvement of Harvard’s 12 undergraduate Houses.
A former resident of Winthrop House, Hutchins said his residential experience inspired his support for this specific cause. He and his seven other College roommates remain close friends, holding annual Columbus Day reunions that he described as “the centerpiece of our year.”
“We became lifelong friends, attending each other’s weddings, raising our kids together, and sharing life’s triumphs and tragedies for over 35 years,” he wrote in an emailed statement to The Crimson. “My life would simply not have been the same without that ‘band of brothers’ at my side.”
Hutchins, who also holds degrees from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, co-founded the private equity firm Silver Lake and is a member of the Harvard Management Company’s board of directors. Although his gift precedes the official launch of what administrators hope will be Harvard’s largest capital campaign, University leaders have pegged House renewal as one of the campaign’s top priorities, estimating the costs for an overhaul will exceed $1 billion. The campaign is currently set to kick off in late 2013.
“Because of his efforts to create this Challenge Fund, we are another step closer to strengthening one of our most cherished traditions,” University President Drew G. Faust told the Harvard Gazette Wednesday.
The Challenge Fund’s commitment to matching donations aimed at House renewal will likely be an important contribution to footing the program’s steep bill. The University first announced its intention to renovate some of its residential Houses in 2008. The renovation of Old Quincy was identified as a “test project” for future renewals in 2011, and construction on its new interiors began immediately after Commencement this past spring. Leverett House’s McKinlock Hall and Dunster House have since been added to the renewal roster and will undergo renovation beginning in June 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Hutchins’s donation is the latest in a number of large gifts Harvard has received in recent years as part of the initial “quiet phase” of the capital campaign. In this preliminary period, it is common for institutions to raise a significant portion of campaign funds before announcing their final goal.
In March, Joseph J. O’Donnell ’67 and Katherine A. O’Donnell announced a $30 million donation to the University, potentially earmarked for House renewal and financial aid. Last October, Rita E. and Gustave M. Hauser donated $40 million for the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching, a University-wide effort to identify and implement innovative teaching practices. Hutchins’ gift is the first that has been explicitly routed to House renewal efforts.
In the past, senior administrators have said that the University hopes to raise at least $6 billion when the capital campaign is officially announced. Harvard has identified a number of priorities for the capital campaign, including a campus-wide student center and the construction of the Allston Science Center, which was put on hold in 2009 following the financial crisis.
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