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$2 Million in Lead Gifts from Alumni Will Support DePauw Student Housing

$2 Million in Lead Gifts from Alumni Will Support DePauw Student Housing

May 23, 2019

President D. Mark McCoy today announced that DePauw University has received $2 million in gifts to support construction of a new first-year residential quad.

Support from Jeffrey L. Harmening ’89 and Lisa Morse Harmening ’89, and Douglas I. Smith ’85 and Ann Smith, will advance a first-year housing master plan for DePauw’s South Quad.  Each couple is making a $1 million gift for this purpose to The Campaign for DePauw, which recently reached a DePauw-record level of support.  Jeff Harmening is Chairman and CEO of General Mills, and Doug Smith is CEO of Miller and Smith, one of the largest privately held residential land development and homebuilding companies in metropolitan Washington, D.C.

“The foundation for my business success is everything I learned in the classroom, through campus leadership experiences, and practical business experience I gained at DePauw and the Management Fellows Program.  By contributing to new student housing, Lisa and I want to support similar experiences for current and future students,” Jeff Harmening said.

Construction work is underway at the corner of Olive and Locust streets, where the first of four proposed residence halls is to be built.  This first hall will provide 152 student beds, most of them in double rooms.  The first floor of the four-story, 60, 400-square-foot building will feature community-living space -- the entry, a lounge, a kitchen and the like -- and the top three floors will contain students’ rooms.  Construction of the first hall is expected to be completed in summer 2020.

“Residence life is central to DePauw students’ educational experience,” Doug Smith said.  “Ann and I want to help revitalize and upgrade the residence halls into a learning and living community that supports the phenomenal academic and cocurricular experiences DePauw provides.”

As part of DePauw’s mission of providing an immersive living-learning environment, all DePauw students live on campus, which makes the housing plan all the more significant.  National research indicates that students who live on campus are more satisfied with their college experience, earn higher grades and are more likely to graduate.

“Residence halls are much more than a place to sleep.  They are at the heart of a first-year student’s college experience, especially at a university like DePauw,” McCoy said.  “They facilitate and enrich a close-knit living and learning environment and the development of strong support networks for students.”

Said Bob Leonard, vice president for finance and administration: “The new resident hall will begin transforming South Quad and the first-year living experience at DePauw.  Prospective students who are attracted to DePauw for its fine academic programs will seal the deal when they visit and see how a community-oriented residence hall can enhance their experience.”

The residence halls are being designed in coordination with DePauw’s Campus Energy Master Plan, prioritizing energy efficiency, sustainability and eco-friendly construction and operation.

Douglas Smith is a member of DePauw’s Board of Trustees and graduated from the university in 1985 with a degree in economics.  He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and is past president of HomeAid Northern Virginia, the philanthropic arm of the Northern Virginia Building Association.

Jeff Harmening and Lisa Morse Harmening were both Management Fellows at DePauw, graduating cum laude in 1989 with degrees in economics.  Jeff is a member of DePauw’s Board of Trustees.  He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and serves on the board of The Toro Company.  Lisa holds an M.B.A. from the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota and serves on the board of The Assistance League of Minneapolis.