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Claremont McKenna College Announces $50-Million Unrestricted Gift from George Roberts '66 P'93

CLAREMONT, Calif. – With the announcement of a $50-million unrestricted gift from Claremont McKenna College trustee and alumnus George R. Roberts ’66 P’93 on Wednesday, the Board of Trustees designated the new fitness and athletic facility scheduled to be built on campus as The Roberts Pavilion.

Designed by award-winning Los Angeles-based JFAK Architects, the Roberts Pavilion will replace the 55,000-square-foot Ducey Gymnasium with a 120,000-square-foot, three-level facility. At more than double the size of Ducey, the Roberts Pavilion will support the College’s co-educational program of 21 varsity sports (including an arena for basketball and volleyball that satisfies NCAA regulations) and its leadership in Division III of SCIAC.  The building will also house the Department of Physical Education and Athletics.

“CMC is a place that continues to grow and excel, and it is a privilege to support its terrific momentum,” Roberts says. “We have a great community here. Our student-athletes have the right attitude for both work and play. They deserve a fitness and athletic facility that mirrors the quality of their educational and residential experiences. I am honored that the CMC Board of Trustees has chosen to recognize my unrestricted gift by naming The Roberts Pavilion.”

For President Pamela Gann, the new facility also will embody an important philosophical view of athletics and education that has existed at CMC from the very beginning.

“There’s a balance between sports and our educational mission,” she explains. “Our experiences on the field and in the gym bring us together and push us to excel and challenge ourselves. The Roberts Pavilion will enrich the experience of not only student-athletes but also our entire community.”

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Director of Athletics Michael Sutton believes that the new facility will benefit the entire campus and help the department move forward as it strives to be one of the top NCAA Division III athletic programs in the country.

“George Roberts phenomenal generosity has provided our college the opportunity to develop a state-of-the-art athletic and recreational facility that will transform the student and student-athlete experience at CMC and for the Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd-Scripps athletic program,” says Sutton. “As we strive to be one of the top NCAA Division III athletic programs we will have the opportunity to develop a facility that will showcase our athletic programs while benefitting our entire campus community.  This has been a long time coming and we are so thankful to Mr. Roberts for his support of an important piece of the CMC mission.”

The Roberts Pavilion will include areas for campus gatherings, a fitness center, recreational gym, weight room and locker rooms. The main arena can be reconfigured as an event center with a seating capacity of about 2,000. This will provide the College with a generous venue for hosting important community events featuring world-renowned speakers.

The Pavilion’s distinctive architectural design – which emphasizes open, light-filled spaces – will include sustainable design elements, such as storm water filtration and a solar hot water system, in order to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.

“We want a facility that everyone can use, a building that’s integrated into the life of the College,” says Trustee Kenneth Novack ’67, vice chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee. “The Roberts Pavilion will be a superb result of that vision.”

The Roberts Pavilion is welcome news to Ken Scalmanini, CMS men’s basketball coach.

“When it comes to the facility aspect, we’re very average, even though everything else around here is an ‘A,’ ”says Scalmanini. “To have a spectacular facility will have such a big impact in getting those top student-athletes to come to CMC year in and year out.”

CMS basketball player Kevin Sullivan ’12 M’13 agrees.

“As a student-athlete, I am ecstatic to learn of Mr. Roberts’ generous unrestricted support for our College,” Sullivan says. “The Roberts Pavilion will generate renewed excitement surrounding CMS athletics, both on campus and in the community. It shows support for CMC students not only in the classroom and workplace, but also on the court and field.”

Roberts’ philanthropy already touches many facets of the College’s life. The matching gift program known as the Roberts Challenge served as the catalyst for the endowment of 27 faculty chairs, which was completed this year. Roberts has also supported construction of two academic buildings, Roberts North and Roberts South, as well as the founding of the Roberts Environmental Center.