University Trustee Bob Penn, Trinity '74 and his wife, Katherine, Trinity '74, have donated $10 million to the University to support the new Events Pavilion.
The pavilion will be named in honor of the Penn family's donation. Although the Penn Pavilion is currently being used as a dining hall, it will ultimately be a home to student gatherings and university events.
“Forty years after graduating, my best memories of Duke are times spent in community with other students and faculty,” Bob Penn said. “We had so many gathering spaces, or at least it seemed that way to me, and it was pretty exciting and stimulating.”
He added that it is more important than ever to foster physical contact between people.
“It's just a much richer experience than texting and email and social media,” Bob Penn said. ”I am glad to help Duke support this vision of convening people in the flesh.”
Administrators expressed appreciation of the donation.
“This wonderful gift from Bob and Katherine Penn is more than a building,” President Richard Brodhead said in a Duke News press release Thursday. ”It is a gathering place befitting our vibrant student community, making possible all kinds of interactions and connections. We’re tremendously grateful to Bob and Katherine for ensuring that the joyful spirit they found at Duke as students will continue for generations to come.”
The gift is a part of Duke Forward—a University-wide fundraising campaign designed to foster continued innovation at Duke.
“The Penns care deeply about Duke students and their generous gift is making it possible to turn a temporary challenge—feeding thousands of students while West Union is renovated—into a beautiful, functional and permanent addition to the campus,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for government affairs and public relations.