Colgate University Receives $25 Million to Support Middle Campus Plan for Arts, Creativity, and Innovation

HAMILTON, N.Y., Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A $25 million gift announced this week from Colgate Alumnus Daniel Benton will go toward the construction of an anchor building in a new middle-campus complex focused on the arts, creativity, and innovation.

“On behalf of the entire Colgate community, I thank Dan Benton for this transformational gift,” said Colgate University President Brian W. Casey. “It is the latest and most profound example of Dan’s commitment to Colgate, his love of this place and its people. It reminds us that, even in this dark present, a bright future awaits.”

Benton’s gift, announced by the Colgate Board of Trustees this week, provides $20 million to construct The Benton Center for Creativity and Innovation, the anchor of a two-building, 36,800-square-foot complex on Colgate’s Middle Campus to house computer science, film and media studies, theater, and dance. The Middle Campus expansion is part of Colgate’s Third-Century Plan.

“I am excited to support the Middle Campus initiative at Colgate,” said Benton, a 1980 graduate of Colgate. “It promises to transform the University — both intellectually and physically. The Benton Center for Creativity and Innovation will become a hub for interdepartmental collaboration and experimentation. In the words of Steve Jobs, ‘It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our hearts sing.'”

Together, the two parts of the complex will include maker spaces, computer and media object labs, studios, and new music practice rooms. Flexible performance and exhibition spaces will provide opportunities for experimentation and for exploring new modes of communication.

“By placing computer science in physical proximity with creative and performing arts departments, exciting new scholarly and performance-based collaborations become possible, as do cutting-edge opportunities for team-taught and linked courses that dismantle outdated barriers between the arts and the sciences/technology,” says Lesleigh Cushing, the Murray W. and Mildred K. Finard Professor in Jewish studies and religion, who has shepherded the Middle Campus planning process in her role as an associate dean of the faculty.

Benton, a trustee emeritus and member of the University’s Campaign Leadership Committee, has already made significant investments in Colgate totaling nearly $50 million during the last two decades — in the Colgate Fund; the Benton Scholars program; in Career Services, where he provided leadership funding to build Benton Hall; and most recently, his first move to support the Middle Campus with an endowed chair in arts, creativity, and innovation. This newest gift makes Benton the largest single donor in Colgate history.

“In his Colgate connection and in his professional life, Dan has demonstrated a genius for identifying the key elements that will drive future success in an institution,” says Campaign Steering Committee Co-Chair Gretchen Burke, a 1981 graduate and Trustee. “He has supported those areas in ways that also encourage others to follow his lead.”

Media Contact:
Daniel DeVries

SOURCE Colgate University

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