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Haverford To Build Another New Dorm

Haverford College alumnus Michael B. Kim ’85, through his foundation, the MBK Educational Foundation, has pledged $7.5 million toward construction of a new dormitory that will be sited adjacent to, and constructed in tandem with, another new dorm that received separate funding a year ago.

News of the gift was announced at this weekend’s quarterly meeting of the College’s Board of Managers.  Kim, who lives in Seoul, South Korea, has been a member of the Board since 2005.

“This is a most welcome and important gift for many reasons,” says Haverford President Stephen G. Emerson, who is also an alumnus of the College.  “First and foremost, it reaffirms our commitment to ensuring vibrant student life at Haverford, and the role of living space in building a strong sense of community.  Notably, we are not building in order to expand the size of the student body, but rather because we want to better accommodate the student body we already have, which has seen dorm living rooms become bedrooms during the gradual expansion that has taken place since 1978.  The new dorms will also enable us to move many students up from the Haverford College Apartments and closer to the heart of campus.”

“The Kim family is delighted to be contributing to the advancement of the College through the gift of the MBK Educational Foundation, ” says Kim, founding partner of MBK Partners, one of Asia’s largest private equity firms.  “We are particularly pleased that the Foundation’s gift will touch the lives of many students for years to come.  This is an affirmation of our belief in President Emerson’s vision of the College.”  The College is eager to recognize the donor and his gift, and has offered to name the new facility in honor of Michael B. Kim and his family.

His gift comes a year after another Haverford College alumnus, Steven Jaharis ’82, made a challenge gift in support of the other new dorm, to be named in honor of former Haverford president Tom Tritton. Groundbreaking for both buildings on what is now a parking lot east of the Whitehead Campus Center will occur next April.

Student living space emerged as a top priority in a recent survey of alumni and friends of the College who have expressed interest in supporting Haverford philanthropically.

“By securing early and significant support for such important initiatives,” says Michael Kiefer, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, “we are able to deliver on this part of our vision soonest.  Moreover, we’re now able to focus our fundraising attention on additional vital priorities such as the expansion of our academic mission by adding faculty in new academic areas, and support for Haverford’s generous Financial Aid policies.”

The College expects that these initiatives, along with other building projects, will form the core of an upcoming comprehensive campaign, the general parameters of which the Board of Managers also approved this weekend.

“The Board gave us a green light to proceed with campaign planning,” adds Kiefer.  “And Michael Kim’s gift is a terrific way to leave the gate.” Ultimately, a total of 160 students will call the two dorms home beginning in September 2012.   Concept and design work, which included extensive input from across the community, was conducted last year and came on the heels of the College’s comprehensive Master Planning process.

The award-winning architectural firm of Tod Williams Billie Tsien channeled community input into an innovative design that takes its cues from Haverford’s enduring respect for community and the land on which this community thrives.

“Our plans for the new dormitories at Haverford are based upon the strong and simple premise that students can use the lay of the land to enter the lower and upper floors of these two storey buildings,” explains Billie Tsien.  “A gently sloping mound separates the buildings with planted retaining walls creating intimate terraces and pathways at the lower level.  Bridges connect the upper floors to the top of the mound.  The buildings and landscape work together and frees up space so that it can be used to create larger and more positive social spaces for the students.

“A central open courtyard in each building brings light, air, and a protected outdoor space for student use.  Student lounges are located on either side of these courtyards, so when weather permits, large sliding glass doors can open to connect the inside to the outside.  Light monitors on the roof bring natural light through shafts to the lower level, bathrooms and selected student rooms.  “In this new complex, the buildings and the landscape will work together to form a sense of community that is contained and enhanced by nature.”

“We are deeply grateful to Michael Kim,” adds President Emerson.  “In true Haverford fashion, he has applied the leadership and problem-solving skills he learned at Haverford to great effect in his chosen field – in Michael’s case, the world of business and finance.  And, likewise in true Haverford fashion, he is channeling his success for the benefit of generations of younger Fords.  Michael is an inspiration.”

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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