Centre College has received a major gift commitment from the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust that will bring a new type of residence facility to campus.
The project, which has an estimated cost of $15 million, will enable Centre to remain highly residential as it continues to grow gradually over the next several years. The college announced the project Wednesday in a press release.
The residential village will provide transitional housing for upperclass students, the overwhelming majority of whom will have lived and studied abroad and who are preparing for independent living.
Centre has now received gifts of $15 million or more five times in the past decade.
“This is further evidence,” said Dr. John Roush, college president, “that this institution is advancing, and it adds strength to my conviction that Centre’s best days are still ahead of it.
“The extraordinary story of Centre College continues with this significant gift that moves us forward in dramatic ways. This is the kind of giving that occurs at the very best colleges and universities across this great nation. It is absolutely wonderful that our college is able to experience and take strategic advantage of such generosity.”
The village will house about 120-130 students and is set for completion by the opening of the 2012-2013 academic year. It will be set on a 4-acre footprint currently occupied by a parking lot near the Jones Visual Arts Center on Beatty Avenue. As with other recent construction projects at Centre, the St. Louis-based architectural firm of Hastings & Chivetta will provide the design.
Guided by thoughtful strategic planning, Centre recently has begun modest and targeted enrollment growth. According to Bob Nesmith, dean of admission, completed applications for the incoming class have shown steady and significant growth by an even more diverse student body whose average ACT scores also have increased.
“While much of our growth has come from outside Kentucky,” said Nesmith, “we are not losing any ground in the commonwealth.”
In the last year alone, Centre has seen increased applications from Texas, Virginia, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Ohio. Over a four-year period, applications from North Carolina have more than doubled.
Centre students currently are housed in 42 buildings spread across the college’s approximately 150 acres. The largest residence halls include Breckenridge and Nevin, as well as Pearl Hall, the newest facility completed in August 2008. Centre’s new residential village will allow more students to live in a state-of-the-art facility closer to the heart of campus.
Both Roush and Dr. Richard Trollinger, vice president for college relations, worked with Evatt Tamine, trustee of the Brockman Trust, on the focus of the gift.
“The trust appreciates our need for a more substantial endowment,” said Trollinger, “but it also believes that in a suppressed economy, it will get the most for its investment if these resources are applied to opportunities such as construction and property acquisition.”
The trust was created in 1981 by the now late A. Eugene Brockman, father of Robert T. “Bob” Brockman (’63), who chairs the Centre College board of trustees.
Tamine, trustee of the Brockman trust, visited the campus in November and received a comprehensive overview of the college. Discussions with him about opportunities for advancing the college’s educational mission have continued from there.
Centre said in a press release that Tamine was “impressed by the dedication of the board of trustees and the vision of Centre’s leaders,” and was convinced that the funds would be used well and wisely.
Construction will begin after the May 22 commencement ceremonies.