Section: Editorial

Major donor’s anonymity contrary to College’s ethos

   During his announcement this past Friday, President Decatur delivered a piece of news that may be a turning point for the College. With a 75 million dollar donation, an anonymous donor has enabled the construction of a new library, but other projects as well. President Sean Decatur has described the gift as being “transformative.” But how exactly will this large sum of money change the Kenyon community?

75 million dollars is a lot of money. And we respect that whoever donated the sum to the College was generous, but we do have one concern. We don’t know who they are. A  part of the Kenyon ethos— what makes us different from other institutions of higher education— rests upon the intention of the College to function as a small community, in which each member is known, respected and heard.

Tension between current students and college administrators/alumni about how this campus should look is a fairly consistent presence. Anonymity isn’t unusual regarding large donations, but this isn’t just another donation. A gift this large could change the future and reputation of this college, and not knowing who may be responsible for this change is neither fair to the donor themselves or our students. We deserve to know who the donor is, if only to offer our thanks, especially if their financial contribution will leave a mark on this campus for years to come.

The most immediate change will be cosmetic, according to the information provided on Kenyon’s website. Olin and Chalmers Library will be demolished, making way for a new “state-of-the-art” facility. There will be a new “West Quad” which will be home to the social sciences and the new admissions offices. Sunset Cottage will remain intact, and Ascension will  be made more accessible.

Although these proposed changes seem to be a move toward improving Kenyon, what will be the long-term effects of this donation? The short answer is that it’s too soon to tell, but make no mistake this big of a donation may have lasting impacts on not only the physical landscape of campus, but also change the way the general public considers Kenyon.

The staff editorial is written weekly by the executive editors of the Collegian, co-editors-in-chief Bailey Blaker ’18 and and Gabrielle Healy  ’18 and managing editor Lauren Eller ’18. You can contact them at blakerb@kenyon.edu, healyg@kenyon.edu and ellerl@kenyon.edu, respectively.

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