Claremont McKenna College Announces $50-Million Unrestricted Gift from George Roberts ’66 P’93
New Gift Helps CMC Campaign Surge Past the $600-Million Mark
The Campaign for Claremont McKenna surged past the $600-million mark this week with the announcement of a $50-million unrestricted gift from trustee and alumnus George R. Roberts ’66 P’93.
The College now has achieved not only the largest goal in its 66-year history, but also the largest campaign ever staged in liberal arts college history.
In honor of Roberts’ extraordinary gift, the Board of Trustees will designate a new fitness and athletic facility as The Roberts Pavilion.
Board Chairman Harry T. McMahon ’75 P’08 P’09 praises Roberts for the wide-ranging impact of his philanthropy at CMC and the decisive role of his gift in reaching the Campaign goal.
“Claremont McKenna College teaches leadership, George Roberts lives it…at the highest standard,” McMahon says. “His entrepreneurial zeal and vision for making the College the best it can be has been one of our greatest blessings. George’s dedication to his alma mater has had a tremendous impact on virtually all aspects of life at CMC…and for that we cannot thank him enough.”
Designed by award-winning Los Angeles-based JFAK Architects, the Roberts Pavilion will replace the 55,000-square-foot Ducey Gymnasium with a 120,000-square-foot, three-level facility. At more than double the size of Ducey, the Roberts Pavilion will support the College’s co-educational program of 21 varsity sports (including an arena for basketball and volleyball that satisfies NCAA regulations) and its leadership in Division III of SCIAC. The building will also house the Department of Physical Education and Athletics.
“CMC is a place that continues to grow and excel, and it is a privilege to support its terrific momentum,” Roberts says. “We have a great community here. Our student-athletes have the right attitude for both work and play. They deserve a fitness and athletic facility that mirrors the quality of their educational and residential experiences. I am honored that the CMC Board of Trustees has chosen to recognize my unrestricted gift by naming The Roberts Pavilion.”
For President Pamela Gann, the new facility also will embody an important philosophical view of athletics and education that has existed at CMC from the very beginning.
“There’s a balance between sports and our educational mission,” she explains. “Our experiences on the field and in the gym bring us together and push us to excel and challenge ourselves. The Roberts Pavilion will enrich the experience of not only student-athletes but also our entire community.”
The Roberts Pavilion will include areas for campus gatherings, a fitness center, recreational gym, weight room and locker rooms. The main arena can be reconfigured as an event center with a seating capacity of about 2,000. This will provide the College with a generous venue for hosting important community events featuring world-renowned speakers.
The Pavilion’s distinctive architectural design – which emphasizes open, light-filled spaces – will include sustainable design elements, such as storm water filtration and a solar hot water system, in order to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.
“We want a facility that everyone can use, a building that’s integrated into the life of the College,” says Trustee Kenneth Novack ’67, vice chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee. “The Roberts Pavilion will be a superb result of that vision.”
Along with a superb result, the Roberts’ gift is also another highpoint in an impressive year of achievements for the Campaign.
This year the Campaign’s overall success can be attributed to many factors, reports the Office of Advancement. In particular, grass-roots initiatives like the Crown Challenge (a matching gift program created by Trustee Steve Crown ’74) used a simple, highly effective three-word message to energize giving in the alumni community. Every dollar counts.
Large gifts continued to play a central role as well. This year the College celebrated the fifth anniversary of Robert Day’s ’65 P’12 spectacular $200-million gift to establish premier training in economics, finance and accounting at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The Kravis Center also opened its doors and became fully operational during the 2011-2012 academic year. Named for Trustee Henry R. Kravis ’67, the Kravis Center has given an important architectural profile to the northwest section of campus, while the Roberts Pavilion will supply another at its south end.
Roberts’ philanthropy already touches many facets of the College’s life. The matching gift program known as the Roberts Challenge served as the catalyst for the endowment of 27 faculty chairs, which was completed this year. Roberts has also supported construction of two academic buildings, Roberts North and Roberts South, as well as the founding of the Roberts Environmental Center.
The Roberts Pavilion is welcome news to Ken Scalmanini, CMS men’s basketball coach.
“When it comes to the facility aspect, we are very average, even though everything else around here is an ‘A,’ ”says Scalmanini. “To have a spectacular facility will have such a big impact in getting those top student-athletes to come to CMC year in and year out.”
CMS basketball player Kevin Sullivan ’12 M’13 agrees.
“As a student-athlete, I am ecstatic to learn of Mr. Roberts’ generous unrestricted support for our College,” Sullivan says. “The Roberts Pavilion will generate renewed excitement surrounding CMS athletics, both on campus and in the community. It shows support for CMC students not only in the classroom and workplace, but also on the court and field.”