Skip to main content

Vox of Dartmouth, the College's newspaper for faculty and staff, ceased publication in February 2010. For current Dartmouth news and events, see:

· Dartmouth Now
· Periodicals
· Events Calendar

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 2,000 donors contributed $10.7 million during the 15-month challenge period to support the construction of Kemeny Hall, which  will house the mathematics department and honor former Dartmouth President John G. Kemeny.

Kresge Hall illustration
The atrium in Kemeny Hall, slated to open in fall 2006.  More than  2,000 donors contributed $10.7 million towards its construction, securing a $1 million challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation. (Illustration courtesy of Moore Ruble Yudell and Bruner/Cott. Rendering by Al Forster)

"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," said 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 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.

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.

John G. Kemeny
John G. Kemeny

"Just as John Kemeny helped transform mathematics at Dartmouth and computing worldwide, Kemeny Hall will have a profound impact," said Provost Barry  Scherr. "By putting the mathematics 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."

Many who made contributions were 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.

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08