President Richard C. Levin has announced that the University has successfully completed a $25 million fund drive for renovations to Payne Whitney Gymnasium, home to Yale's athletic teams and recreational programs. This total, which reflects the generous gifts of Yale's alumni and friends, will help to defray the $35 million cost of Phase 1 improvements to the 64-year-old facility. The multi-year renovation project has already entered its first active phase of construction. "Fundraising for the gym has received high priority at Yale," says Mr. Levin. "Intercollegiate, intramural and recreational sports are a vital complement to liberal education at the University, and Payne Whitney Gym is the cornerstone of our programs. I am grateful to our alumni for their generous support, both of this effort and of our greater capital campaign." The University is now in its fifth and final year of The Yale Campaign, a $1.5 billion fund drive for facilities, endowment and programs.
Lanman Wing to be constructed
One of the leading donors to support the gym renovation is Colonel William K. Lanman, U.S. Marine Corps, Ret., a 1928 graduate of Yale's Sheffield Scientific School. His contribution will provide for the construction of a new wing of the gym, designed to accommodate four basketball/volleyball courts and an elevated indoor track. Construction of this wing, which will be named in honor of Colonel Lanman, is slated for the spring of 1997. "These renovations help to continue a long tradition of excellence at Yale. I am proud to take the lead in a project which is so centrally important to the Yale community," Colonel Lanman says.
A Yale Medal recipient and a decorated World War II aviator, Colonel Lanman is one of several Lanman family members to attend Yale, beginning with a forebear named James Lanman who graduated from Yale College in 1788. In the 19th century, three Lanmans graduated from the College: Charles J. in 1814, Joseph in 1864 and Charles R. in 1871. Colonel Lanman's brothers -- the late Henry R. '32S and Jonathan T. '40, '43 M.D. -- also attended Yale. Colonel Lanman contributed generously toward the remodeling in 1993 of Lanman-Wright Hall, a freshman residence, and toward the renovation of Yale's Undergraduate Admissions Building in 1995.
"Yale owes a large debt of gratitude to Colonel Lanman for his steadfast vision and strength in helping to rebuild our facilities," said President Levin. "Now, as we enter a new era for Payne Whitney, he is once again providing inspired leadership."
Other alumni donors
Other prominent Yale alumni have been recognized for their support of the $25 million fund drive. The John J. Lee Amphitheater was named in the fall of 1995 to honor John J. Lee '58E, '59 M.Eng. a trustee of the Yale Corporation and chair of The Yale Campaign. A star basketball player in his college days, Mr. Lee has given generously to support the gym. Barton M. Biggs '55 also made a leadership gift to the fund, as have several members of the Day family, including Harry D. Day '70, Jerrold Day, the estate of Dr. Harry M. Day and the Dr. Harry M. Day '34 Charitable Foundation.
Further funding was provided by Joshua Bekenstein '80; the late Adrian C. Israel 36S; Glenn H. Greenberg '68; Joseph F. Cullman, 3d '35; Raymond J. Wean, Jr. '43S; Stephen G. Woodsum '76 and Anne R. Lovett '77; and Dennis P. Lynch '64.
Mr. Lee says, "The gym is a magnificent building that represents the best of what Yale is all about: achievement, excellence and the spirit of competition. This fund drive has been an opportunity for concerned alumni to perpetuate that magnificence for Yale's future generations, while renewing and modernizing the facilities for intercollegiate, intramural, and recreational use."
Payne Whitney Gym is the second-largest athletic facility in the world, boasting 12 acres of floor space on 16 levels. Built in 1932, it was designed by John Russell Pope to meet the needs of the 3,500 students then attending Yale College. The gym stands as a memorial to Payne Whitney, Class of 1898, and was constructed through a gift from Whitney's wife and his children, John Hay Whitney '26, '56 M.A.H. and Mrs. Charles S. Payson.
Current renovation activity marks the first of a four-phase effort to ensure that Payne Whitney Gym -- now serving 10,000 regular users -- meets code, fire- and life-safety, and accessibility standards, while improving the useability and appearance of the facility. Thomas A. Beckett, director of athletics, says, "We're excited about what this renovation means for sports at Yale. Existing space is being reconfigured, and space is being added for new programs. We have plans to expand recreational options and to increase the competitiveness of Yale's sports teams." The renovation has been designed by Ellerbe Becket
Architects in collaboration with Cesar Pelli & Associates. Work completed to date as part of Phase 1 has included improvements to the John J. Lee Amphitheater, performed during the summer of 1995, and conversion during the summer of 1996 of eight existing squash courts into six larger courts meeting international standards. Additional projects in Phase 1 will include four new basketball courts, an elevated indoor jogging track, a new exercise center and significant upgrades to the building systems and locker rooms. The showpiece of this work will be the new addition housing the basketball courts and jogging track.