As construction booms, donors earn namesakes

20/20 projects offer opportunities for donors to leave their mark on campus. For the price of $10,000, the new student athlete’s locker room in Pearson and McGonigle halls’ new basketball practice facility could don one’s

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MICHELLE GISH TTN The South Gateway project will likely don the names of Mictchell Morgan, a trustee, and his wife, Hilarie. The couple is expected to donate $5 million to the university for the namesake.

20/20 projects offer opportunities for donors to leave their mark on campus.

For the price of $10,000, the new student athlete’s locker room in Pearson and McGonigle halls’ new basketball practice facility could don one’s name. At Temple, a donation can mean naming rights of a building, room or athletic locker.

“Temple, like many institutions, has a policy for deciding the philanthropic price of spaces,” David Unruh, senior vice president for institutional advancement, said.

It is not uncommon for universities to place prices on newly built buildings or spaces of any kind on campus for a generous donation from alumni, trustees or sports fans.

Unruh said that, in order to assign a building or space a conceptual cost, Temple must consider a series of qualities attributed to that space: price of construction, square footage and visibility, among others.

Once a decision is made, the price must be approved by the Board of Trustees. As donors come forward and make commitments to their donations, the space will be named in their honor as recognition after all paperwork is processed and the agreement is finally approved by the trustees.

Donors may name the space after themselves or to whoever they wish to give the recognition. The donations may also be paid during a period of time.

“Dollars received don’t have to go to the specific space,” Unruh said. “We can be flexible.”

In case faced with the “pleasant problem” of two donors wanting the same naming opportunity, Unruh said university officials would have to, “sit down with both parties and work it out.”

By either dually naming the space or having one donor give a gift for an equivalent space, the problem would be resolved, rather than allowing it to become a bidding war, Unruh said.

He said that, in his 20 years of work at Temple, such a situation has never occurred.

Sometime soon, the new residence hall complex, located at Cecil B. Moore Avenue and Broad Street, will officially bear a name. At the Dec. 13, 2011 Board of Trustees meeting, the possibility of a $5 million donation from Trustee Mitchell Morgan and his wife, Hilarie Morgan, was approved. The negotiation has yet to be finalized.

Other spaces’ official names approved at the Dec. 13 meeting included the Temple Performing Arts Center’s new box office and green room after Kal Rudman, an alumnus, and wife Lucille, Edberg-Olson Hall’s new coach’s locker room after J. William Mills III, a trustee, and hydrotherapy training center for Peter Chodoff. Chodoff, an alumnus and booster for Temple, also has the practice football field, located adjacent to the Edberg-Olson Hall, named on his behalf.

With the 20/20 plan underway, multiple new naming opportunities will transpire. Pearson and McGonigle hall’s new basketball facility is the newest addition and has multiple opportunities waiting to be claimed. The only spoken for space is the men’s practice gym, named after Donald Resnick and Nancy Resnick, which collected a donation of $1.5 million.

Still holding 30 opportunities for name recognition, the basketball facility has a fundraising goal of $13.5 million total. The overall facility naming right is going for $7.5 million.

At the University of Pennsylvania, fundraising for its College House has a goal of $15 million. The residence hall, housing 500 students, is equipped with laundry facilities, fitness rooms, music practice rooms, computer labs, seminar rooms, and libraries. In comparison, Temple’s new residence hall is planned to house nearly 900 students. Other schools have similar projects. Penn State University asked for $2.5 million gift for their Knowledge Commons, an addition to the already standing  library.

Pittsburgh University’s Swanson School of Engineering is undergoing a transformation plan that will build a new building and renovate their current building, with a $100 million goal.

“We are similar to some and less than others,” Unruh said, when comparing naming opportunities with peer institutions.

Conceptual prices for spaces are decided by construction costs and the price that university actually pays. Bonds and funding from the state of Pennsylvania can sometimes cover a substantial amount of a building’s cost to Temple, a luxury private schools typically do not have.

Emma Purcell can be reached at

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