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Three Dartmouth Families, Three Named Residence Halls

Dartmouth's commitment to provide one of the finest residential college experiences in the nation has been bolstered by significant gifts from three longtime benefactors. The Berry, Bildner, and Byrne families have each committed $6 million to name residence halls within the McLaughlin Residential Cluster, now under construction at Maynard and College Streets at the north end of campus.

A view of the McLaughlin Residential Cluster
A view of the McLaughlin Residential Cluster, looking towards Baker Tower (Illustration by Al Forster)

The cluster is named in memory of the late Dartmouth President David T. McLaughlin '54, Tu'55. Six residence halls framing an open quadrangle will house 342 students. The cluster will include lounges, kitchen areas, and a large commons for lectures, dinners, and other social and educational activities. With brick exterior, white trim, and copper roof, the buildings will reflect elements of Dartmouth's traditional Georgian architecture.

The new residence halls are being built to help Dartmouth address long-standing housing needs, not to accommodate any increase in the size of the student body. When Dartmouth expanded its student body in the 1970s for coeducation, the College did not make a corresponding increase to the physical plant. While enrollment has remained fairly constant since then, pressures on existing housing have increased due to fluctuations in off-campus program enrollments, higher demand for leave-term residence, and renovations of existing residence halls to address building-code issues. As a result, nearly 250 students currently live off campus because of a lack of on-campus beds.

"The generous gifts of the Berry, Bildner, and Byrne families recognize the crucial role of residential life in the Dartmouth experience," says President James Wright. "Our students learn inside and outside the classroom, where we strive to foster human understanding, lifelong friendships, and an appreciation for community and place. We're grateful to these families, whose gifts will enrich student life at Dartmouth for generations to come."

The College will name three of the six residence halls for these families, who share common themes of service, philanthropy, and love of Dartmouth. Fund-raising for the remaining three buildings is under way.

The Berry Residence Hall will be named in memory of the late John W. Berry Sr. '44, who gave the single largest gift in Dartmouth's history for the construction of the Berry Library. In addition, his philanthropy funded the Loren Berry Professorship in Economics and the John W. Berry Sports Center. Berry was the former chair and chief executive officer of L.M. Berry Company, a telephone-directory advertising firm best known for founding The Yellow Pages. He and his wife, Marilynn Berry, were also prominent supporters of numerous charitable causes in his native Ohio. Three sons have contributed to the Berry Residence Hall: George Berry '66 and his wife Roberta; John Berry and his wife Shirley; and Charles Berry. Roberta and George Berry live in Lincoln, Mass., and are parents of Matthew Drew and Jonathan Drew '98, who is married to Rachel Drew, also class of 1998. George Berry is a trustee of the Berry Family Foundation and serves Dartmouth as a member of the President's Leadership Council and as an overseer for the Hopkins Center and the Hood Museum of Art. John Berry, a resident of Naples, Fla., is chairman and CEO of Berry Investments, Inc., and chairman of the Berry Foundation. Charles Berry is a trustee of the Berry Family Foundation and serves on the boards of several charities.

"One of the things our father did was make a big effort to give back to the places that meant a lot to him, and right at the top of the list was Dartmouth. He would feel very good about giving back so students can enjoy for generations the experience that he had," says John Berry Jr.

Joan and Allen '47, Tu'48 Bildner live in Short Hills, N.J. Their son Jim is a 1975 Dartmouth graduate, and granddaughter Lizzie, Jim's daughter, is a Dartmouth freshman. Allen Bildner is the retired chairman of Kings Super Markets, Inc., and a past chairman of the Food Marketing Institute in Washington, D.C. Allen and Joan Bildner are the founders and owners of SME Co., Inc., a family management and investment firm. Allen Bildner serves on the boards of the YES Network (Yankee Sports and Entertainment Network) and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. He was appointed by President William Clinton to the Holocaust Memorial Council in 1995. Joan Bildner has been a member of the board of governors of Rutgers University for twelve years. She was appointed by Governor Thomas H. Kean to co-chair the New Jersey-Israel Commission. The Bildners' sons, Rob and Jim, also serve as trustees of the Bildner Family Foundation, which has supported many Dartmouth initiatives, including the Bildner Endowment for Human and Intergroup Relations, established in 1990. The Bildners received Dartmouth's 2003 Social Justice Award for their service and socially conscious philanthropy.

All three of Dorothy and John "Jack" Byrne Jr.'s sons are Dartmouth graduates: John III '81 is president of Cirque Property LC in Salt Lake City, Utah; Mark '85, Tu'86 is chairman of West End Capital Management in Bermuda; and Patrick '85 is founder, chairman, president, and CEO of Overstock.com in Salt Lake City, Utah. Residents of Etna, N.H., Jack Byrne is chairman of White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd., and Dorothy Byrne is president of The Byrne Foundation; their sons serve as directors. The foundation generously supports a wide range of charitable organizations in the Upper Valley. The family has also established a foundation to benefit the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and a fund to enhance the cultural, intellectual, and educational resources of the Wildwoods of New Jersey. Former members of the Dartmouth Parents Fund Committee, the Byrnes have been longtime benefactors to Dartmouth and Tuck. Their philanthropy includes the Byrne Fund in Chinese Studies, grants for student public service projects through the Tucker Foundation, the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, annual gifts to the Parents Fund and the Tuck School of Business, and construction of Byrne Hall at the Tuck School in 1993. The new residence hall supported by the family will be known as Byrne II. More recently, the Byrne sons established a professorship at Tuck in honor of their father, who served on Tuck's board of overseers from 1982 to 2000.

This cluster of six residence halls is named in memory of David McLaughlin, Dartmouth's fourteenth president (from 1981 to 1987) and former head of Toro, the Red Cross, and the Aspen Institute. He is remembered at Dartmouth for doubling its endowment, supporting faculty and residential programs, and leading the effort to relocate the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to its present home in Lebanon.

President Wright noted that the relocation opened the way for the residential cluster that will bear McLaughlin's name.

"David had the tremendous foresight to purchase the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital at the north end of campus, where the McLaughlin Cluster will be located," Wright says. "That decision ultimately opened the door for the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to relocate to its present site in Lebanon and to emerge as a nationally recognized clinical and research center.

"Now, the Berry, Bildner, and Byrne families help us honor David's legacy and advance the spirit of community at Dartmouth," Wright adds.

The commitments of the three families address a major priority in the $1.3 billion Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience, which is the largest fund-raising effort in Dartmouth history. The College is seeking investment in four initiatives: to advance leading-edge teaching and scholarship, to enhance residential and campus life, to more fully endow its financial aid program, and to raise unrestricted dollars. The campaign is institution-wide, embracing its undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts and sciences and its three professional schools: Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering, and Dartmouth Medical School.

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Last Updated: 5/30/08