Friday, October 12, 2012

Davidson College Receives $45 million support from the Duke Endowment

Davidson College is excited to announce the largest gift in its history: a $45 million grant from The Duke Endowment to transform the academic heart of its campus.

Beginning in 2013 with a comprehensive construction/renovation plan for six academic buildings, and continuing with new opportunities for curricular expansion, Davidson is embarking – thanks to the generous investment of The Duke Endowment – on a 10-year plan to remake the model of liberal arts education.

"Davidson graduates lead and serve in an increasingly interconnected, rapidly changing world," explains Davidson College president Carol Quillen. "To stay ahead of these changes, we need to shift how we work, both physically and intellectually. This bold campus plan will enable our exceptional faculty to create a curriculum centered on students doing original work. It will support our dedicated staff as they help students build bridges between learning and life. The Duke Endowment understands the opportunities that our changing world offers, and we cannot thank the Trustees enough for endorsing Davidson's vision."

"The founder of The Duke Endowment, James B. Duke, was a visionary in business matters and in philanthropy and I believe he would have taken delight in this historic grant," says Minor Shaw, chair of the Endowment's Trustees. "The Trustees of The Duke Endowment wanted to support Davidson's plan as a testament to our strong belief in the college, its leadership, faculty and staff, and student body."

The Duke Endowment's gift will enable Davidson to restructure the main academic portion of its campus to create learning spaces that foster new methods of interdisciplinary learning. Six buildings will be expanded, renovated or constructed over the next decade to create a "neighborhood" with flexible spaces and common areas that encourage the exchange and generation of ideas across conventional academic boundaries—between departments, between disciplines, and between the arts and sciences.

Faculty and staff will be grouped in these facilities by the resources they need and their potential interactions withothers. Community and flexible spaces such as a café, artist studios, learning labs, shared equipment, and computational facilities will be situated to promote interactions among all members of the campus community.

Clark G. Ross, Davidson College Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty adds: "President Quillen has shown extraordinary academic foresight in working with the faculty to develop this exciting and ambitious initiative. With this creative interdisciplinary project, Davidson should be an academic beacon among the liberal arts colleges. The Duke Endowment gift helps demonstrate the exciting potential before us."

The new neighborhood configuration will provide for increased opportunities for collaboration with outside businesses, organizations, and universities, significantly enhancing Davidson's already considerable program of undergraduate research.

"This gift will help us demonstrate theinestimable value of what highly selective liberal arts colleges do—graduate talented individuals from across the socio-economic spectrum who exert a disproportionate impact for good in the world," says President Quillen.

The Duke Endowment, a private foundation in Charlotte, seeks to enrich lives and communities in North Carolina and South Carolina through its work with children, health care, higher education and rural churches. Davidson is one of four educational institutions that receive annual financial support from the Endowment. The others are Furman University, Duke University and Johnson C. Smith University. Since its founding in 1924, theEndowment has awarded $2.9 billion in grants, and now, with this gift, morethan $167 million to Davidson. The Endowment's founder is the same Duke behind Duke University and Duke Energy, but they are all separate organizations.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.