The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus receives $15 million donation from Falk Foundation

Chatham University received the largest donation in its 144-year history recently: $15 million from the Falk Foundation. Chatham has had a relationship with the Falk Foundation for more than 50 years, and it has been a generous sponsor of the university.

The donation goes towards Chatham University’s School of Sustainability and the Environment, as well as the Eden Hall Campus. The school will be renamed the Falk School of Sustainability at Chatham University.

The Falk Foundation is not the only contributor to the new school. “The majority of the development costs related to Eden Hall are being raised through fundraising and other efforts,” said Bill Campbell, Chatham’s vice president of marketing and communications.

“In addition to the Falk Foundation gift, we have received other major gifts from foundations such as the Richard King Mellon Foundation and many other alumni and other donors,” he said. The Richard King Mellon Foundation granted Chatham University  $7.5 million to put towards the new campus and school.

The Falk Foundation’s relationship with Chatham University began in 1952 when it funded Chatham’s Falk Hall, which was named in memory of Laura Falk, wife of Maurice Falk who founded the Falk Foundation.

Sigo Falk also has been a member of the Chatham Board of Trustees since 1981, was the Chair of the Boards of Trustees from 1995 to 2002 and has been the vice chair since 2002.

The announcement of the donation was made at the Eden Hall Campus before faculty, guests, and a few students who volunteered to help out. “All they said was that there was a big surprise and they didn’t tell us what it was because they didn’t know either,” said first-year, Kelly Nestman. “It was cool because when we got there, we found out because we were there ahead of everyone else who planned this out.”

The announcement was made and everyone celebrated. “They were really shocked because it’s one of the biggest grants Chatham has gotten,” said Tahmina Tursonzadah, a first-year volunteer. “When they were actually saying it—President Barazzone was giving a speech—no one really said anything, but I feel like…they realized this is really big.”

This donation will go towards the creation of new faculty positions such as sustainability management, the expansion of Chatham’s Rachel Carson Institute, the development of a program of non-profit and corporate partnerships through paid student internships during the summer and the continued construction of Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus.

Eden Hall Campus will be the first living campus built from the ground up, meaning that it is entirely self-sustainable. This goes along with Chatham’s long-standing commitment to sustainability.

At the International Sustainable Campus Network Awards in Singapore earlier this year, Chatham was the only North American Institute to be honored. The university also earned a Second Nature Climate Award in the United States, was named a top 25 “Cool School” by the Sierra Club and jumped seven spots in the US News and World Report rankings.

“Eden Hall Campus and our efforts in sustainability are gaining Chatham University national and international recognition and accolades,” said Campbell. “This definitely helps the institution as a whole. It will continue to provide momentum and assistance to our fundraising efforts for the entire university, and hopefully lead to increased awareness and enrollment across all areas of the university including Chatham College for Women.”

When asked if the donation will benefit the main campus and its students, Campbell said, “Each year Chatham works to invest in maintaining, renewing and enhancing Shadyside and Eastside. In fact, the summer’s repaving and new paths on Shadyside is an example of a significant investment that improves and enhances our main campus for years to come. Shadyside campus and Eastside facility renewal are also an important element of our capital campaign and fundraising priorities.”

 Update: An earlier version of this story stated that the donation came from Sigo Falk. The donation came from the Falk Foundation.

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