Big names drive DUC funding
Carrying a $43 million price tag, the new Danforth University Center houses the names of many prominent University donors, but has yet to secure funding for many of the building’s spaces.
Although many donors wish to remain anonymous, according to the University’s Web site, about 32 areas of the DUC have already been funded.
Donors’ contributions do not necessarily correlate to the exact cost of the construction of their named areas, but there is a set minimum donation that is required to have a specific area dedicated to them.
“If you have a naming opportunity for a room or a hall, the money is given to the overall project. The returned honor is then to recognize that gift and then to recognize the individual,” Fred Volkmann, vice chancellor for public affairs, said. “The naming opportunities are based on the level of the gift and then the commensurate level of the list of opportunities.”
So far, there have been about 40 substantial donations, the largest being $15 million, that have been made to the building fund. Volkmann declined to disclose the donations’ exact amounts.
The Harvey Media Suite, one of the most significant naming opportunities taken thus far, is on the third floor of the center and is named for the family of Angel Harvey, a University alumna. She and her husband were both successful broadcast journalists.
The naming opportunity for the media center had a set minimum donation of $1.2 million. Within the media center are the WUTV suite, the Student Life suite, the WUTV studio and control room, the recording studio and the Hatchet and print media suite, all of which have yet to be named.
In that space, the University spent millions of dollars to create state-of-the-art facilities for the student media groups.
The WUTV suite, for example—which cost millions of dollars—boasts an innovative news set and, according to DUC Director Bill Darby, dramatically improved equipment from their studio last year.
Although WUTV’s resources are greatly improved, Darby says that the University’s expectations of media groups like WUTV and Hatchet, which are partially funded and managed by the University, have not changed.
“I hope we have provided people with resources that will make it easier for them to become the best,” Darby said. “Our expectations haven’t changed but the resources we have provided them to meet these [have changed].”
While the Harveys’ donation is one of many large contributions to the construction of the DUC, the largest donation, of $15 million dollars, came about a decade ago during the University’s last campaign from the Danforth Foundation—the family foundation that is the building’s namesake.
While the Danforth Foundation designated its gift within the University’s endowment for the building of a student center, the foundation did not know that its name would be given to the DUC until recently.
Because the gift was designated for the endowment, only the income earned on the investment of the money will be used to pay for the building.
“That’s the purpose of an endowment, it is a perpetual gift. You don’t spend it,” Volkmann said. “In this case the income will all be used to construct the building.”
A list on the University’s Web site indicates that 61 areas of the DUC still have not been funded.
The fun room is one of these unfunded areass and has a set minimum donation price of $750,000. Other significant naming opportunities include the fireplace outside of the funroom for $50,000, the Career Center Suite for $2 million and the Student Union Executive Suite for $500,000.
According to Volkmann, the income earned over the course of several years on the investment of the Danforth Foundation’s gift will come very close to equaling the building’s costs, which have not yet been fully paid for.
Darby says that the $43 million being spent on the building will have a significant impact on students.
“This is $43 million that changes the experiences of students at Wash. U. It can change Wash. U.’s relationship with the community,” Darby said.