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Dartmouth Meets Kresge Challenge for Kemeny Hall

Generous and broad-based support from alumni and friends helped Dartmouth College secure a $1 million challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation. More than two thousand donors contributed $10.7 million during the fifteen-month challenge period to support the construction of Kemeny Hall, which will house the mathematics department and honor former president John G. Kemeny.

"The success of this challenge is a testament to both the respect people had for John Kemeny and their commitment to seeing Dartmouth advance its educational mission," says President James Wright. "John influenced so many lives-as a teacher, scholar, president, and public servant. This new facility, named in his honor, will better enable our distinguished faculty to do the same."

Kemeny Hall, a brick and granite structure under construction just north of Baker-Berry Library, will reunite a mathematics department currently spread among three buildings. Slated to open in fall 2006, the 60,000-square-foot facility will provide "smart" classrooms, laboratories, and common spaces for student-faculty collaboration. The building will be attached to the new Haldeman Center, which will house the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Fannie and Alan Leslie Center for the Humanities, and the Institute for the Study of Applied and Professional Ethics.

John Kemeny joined the mathematics faculty at Dartmouth in 1953 after having served as a graduate assistant to Albert Einstein. In the early 1960s, he and colleague Thomas Kurtz developed a pioneering computer language, BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), and the world's first widely used time-sharing system, which gave users simultaneous access to a central computer. President of Dartmouth from 1970 to 1981, he oversaw profound changes: the transition to coeducation, the recruitment of students of color, the renewal of a charter commitment to Native American education, and the guarantee of financial aid to meet the full needs of all admitted students. Kemeny died in 1992.

"Just as John Kemeny helped transform mathematics at Dartmouth and computing worldwide, Kemeny Hall will have a profound impact," says Provost Barry Scherr. "By putting the math department back under one roof, with technologically up-to-date facilities, we are putting our faculty and students on a path to advance knowledge for all."

Among the donors who made contributions to Kemeny Hall during the challenge period were many former students of Kemeny, touched by the spirit of a man who continued to teach even after becoming president.

The Kresge Foundation is an independent, private foundation created by the personal gifts of Sebastian S. Kresge. The foundation supports projects involving construction or renovation of facilities and the purchase of major capital equipment or real estate. It is not affiliated with any corporation or organization.

The foundation's commitment helps meet a priority in the College's Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience. With an ambitious $1.3 billion goal, Dartmouth is seeking investment across the institution-in the undergraduate college, graduate programs in the arts and sciences, and its three professional schools of business, engineering, and medicine. The campaign's priorities will advance leading-edge teaching and scholarship, enhance residential and campus life, and honor Dartmouth's commitment to accessible education for all academically qualified students.

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Last Updated: 5/30/08