Dickinson’s newest residence hall, which opened in the Fall of 2018, will remain the “High Street” dorm for the foreseeable future until donors offer the desired price of $9.5 million.
Vice President for College Advancement Kirk Swenson said that the donation must be 50 percent of the construction cost of the dorm. “The gift wouldn’t necessarily have to be tied to the building — it could be an unrestricted gift or a gift for another purpose,” he said. The new dorm cost roughly $19 million to construct. Swenson explained that many donors of the college are not motivated by having their names attached to buildings. “We’ve had plenty of gifts that would be appropriate for that honor but were never recognized in that way,” he said.
Swenson also said that the dorm has not been named yet because “naming a physical space on a college campus is a big deal.” He said that naming a building on campus is a way to recognize philanthropy or recognize a gift that “enhance[s] the educational experience of our students.” Swenson continued, explaining that there is a limited number of buildings, so the opportunity to name them must be used wisely.
Swenson is unsure as to when the dorm will be named. He explained that it could be soon, or years from now. Since the dorm was not a fundraising project, the college was not focused on seeking out a lead donor for the building, but Swenson said that “it’s entirely possible that a benefactor will be motivated by that honor in the future.”
Swenson explained that the dorm could be named to “honor an individual or family whose gifts to the college are worthy of that tribute.” However, he noted that “This isn’t a transaction. A donor isn’t “buying” the naming rights in the way a company might for a sports arena. The college can choose to honor a donor for their impact at the college by placing their name on a prominent physical space.”
Some students, like Jillian Paige ’21, did not know that the new dorm did not have a name. Anna Harrison ’22 said “I did not know the building wasn’t actually called the new dorm.”
Anna Burke ’22 said “No one gives a sh*t about the names of dorms- the students just want nice living spaces with working heat and water fixtures.”
For now, the new dorm building will remain High Street residences, or “the new dorm”.