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Challenge gift announced

Jeff Rankin
01/25/2011
David Byrnes knows what is good for Monmouth College. He was the first individual to step forward with a lead gift when MC announced plans for a $38 million academic complex in 2006. Now the chairman of the college’s board of trustees believes the eagerly anticipated building may soon become a reality, thanks in part to a recent pledge by one of his colleagues on the board of trustees.

“A trustee who already made a generous gift to the campaign has stepped forward with a $2 million challenge,” Byrnes announced. “For every dollar committed toward the new building on or before June 30, the trustee—who wishes to remain anonymous—will provide a 50 percent match.”

Byrnes explained that if the challenge yields $4 million in new pledges, the net result will be $6 million in additional funds for the project. “That will make the start of construction one step closer to happening,” he said.

“This building will take the college to a new level,” predicted Byrnes, who along with his wife, Libby, has pledged a seven-figure gift toward the project. “By integrating our science and business programs in the same academic complex, we will be helping to pioneer an important new trend in education. In order for this nation to remain competitive in the changing global economy, we must prepare leaders who not only understand technology but also know how to market it.”

Byrnes, who noted that Monmouth’s Haldeman-Thiessen Science Center was built more than 40 years ago, sees the new building as a critical next step. “The college has grown substantially since then,” he observed, “and so has the way science is taught.”

At the same time, he is excited about the opportunity the building offers for expansion of a growing and physically overcrowded business program. “Our business and accounting departments have produced some of our most successful graduates,” he said. “They now constitute almost 30 percent of every graduating class.”

The complex will provide Monmouth students with some of the finest classrooms, laboratories and seminar rooms in the Midwest. It was designed to provide a forum for the personalized educational interactions that will help students excel and find their path to success.

“We are on the cusp of a new era in the history of the college, marked by the construction of this signature academic building,” he said. “This critical moment is the culmination of the many good things that have occurred over past years and decades.”

The academic complex, which will be the college’s first new academic building since 1990, is designed to facilitate interaction among what have been traditionally independent departments. Plans call for the 136,000-square-foot complex to be built in the 700 block of East Broadway, just south of Archer Ave. It was designed by the award-winning international architecture firm Burt Hill.

“The new building will enable our faculty to dream big and to implement the innovative programs they have long had in mind,” concluded Byrnes. “It will foster cross-disciplinary collaboration. And it will be the defining academic building for Monmouth College for this decade and more, signaling Monmouth’s faith in its mission and identity, its commitment to its students and its confidence in the future.”