Whittier College Leverages Challenge Gift to Raise $5 Million For Science and Learning Center

Friday, May 23, 2014

Science and Learning Center LobbyA recent $1 million challenge gift has resulted in an additional $4 million in leadership contributions toward Whittier College’s Science and Learning Center (SLC) project, for a total of $5 million in directed gifts. The initial $1 million challenge was made by a friend of the College who wished to remain anonymous. Responding to the call were dedicated alumni and family members Alan ’71 and Irene Lund, ‎ Fred ’66 and Marilyn Anderson, Ray '53 and Joan '56 Dezember, and the Weston Family—Steve ’83, Kathy (Weber) ’83, Ruth (Everingham) ’86, Scott, and Marjorie Doniger—through the N.S. Goldstein Foundation.

The SLC project involves a complete redesign of a primary academic building on campus. With new laboratories and classrooms to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration and flexible learning environments that will adapt to future innovations in science education and research, the new Center will create transformative opportunities for the entire campus. Moreover, as one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the nation, the new facility will support the College’s ongoing aim of educating underrepresented and nontraditional students in the STEM fields.

"Whittier has a proven track record of successfully educating science leaders and the new Science and Learning Center will allow the college to adapt to the quickly evolving nature of the science fields,” said President Sharon Herzberger. “This project also offers creative, innovative, and collaborative learning opportunities for students in all disciplines. We are extremely grateful to this generous friend of the College for issuing this challenge. As this individual learned more about Whittier and became inspired to give, this friend wanted to challenge others to become early leadership contributors to this critical project.”

During the quiet phase of fundraising, $12.2 million has been raised for the SLC project toward the goal of $30 million.

“With this solid foundation of leadership gifts, we can broaden our fundraising efforts for the new Science and Learning Center which will transform our campus and serve as a vibrant academic hub for our students and faculty,” noted Vice President for Advancement and Strategic Initiatives Elizabeth Power Robison.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Alan Lund, is leading the campaign for the SLC and was the first donor to respond to the challenge. “The Science and Learning Center will positively impact nearly every department and student on campus—bringing scholars in every field together under one roof. This invaluable resource will raise Whittier’s profile and attract more bright minds to the campus.”

Lund, who spent 30 years at International Lease Finance Corporation in various senior management positions, retiring as President in 2011, has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2000.

“Marilyn and I have a deep appreciation for Whittier College’s very special mission, culture, faculty and students,” added College Trustee Fred Anderson, a managing director and co-founder of Elevation Partners. “We are humbled to be a part of the creative momentum toward excellence, and we are confident this redesigned facility will elevate the student learning experience across the curriculum – particularly in STEM fields – to an even higher level.”

Anderson has extensive operating and financial experience as a senior executive in the technology industry. From 1996 – 2004, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Apple Computer, and made major contributions to Apple’s turnaround and re-emergence as an industry leader.

“We prepare graduates from a wide range of disciplines—such as business, economics, health, public policy, education—to become leaders who possess broad knowledge of science, math, and technology,” said Fletcher Jones Professor of Molecular Genetics David Bourgaize. “This re-envisioned facility will transform not only the way we think about science, but also the way we teach science across the curriculum.”

College Trustee and President of the Alumni Board Steve Weston added, “Safeguarding the future of Whittier should be a top priority for all alumni. Ensuring that generations of new Poets can make use of this state-of-the-art facility to achieve their academic goals is an ideal legacy for my family. We are thrilled to help advance this important project.”

Weston is a managing partner at EPIC Connections.

For more information on the Science and Learning Center project or how to contribute, contact Elizabeth Power Robison, vice president for advancement and strategic initiatives, (562) 907-4213 or visit www.whittier.edu/scienceandlearning.