After running through the manifold virtues of New College House for the audience gathered expectantly in the building’s central courtyard—from its environmentally sensitive design to the vibrant resident community that gives life to the house motto semper ad meliora (“always onward to better things”)—Penn President Amy Gutmann paused and added, “Despite it all, we’re still missing something. Something essential—until today.”
Moments later, amid a whirl of red-and-blue confetti, a plaque was unveiled listing three generations’ worth of Penn alumni from the Lauder family—from trustee emeritus Leonard W’54 to recent graduate Joshua C’19—for whom New College House has been named. “For over half a century the Lauders … have made Penn an integral part of their family,” Gutmann said, acknowledging “their extraordinary contributions to create Penn’s first student residence designed as a College House community.”
Located at 34th and Chestnut Streets, the $121 million residence hall opened in September 2016 [“Gazetteer,” Sep|Oct 2016], and the naming ceremony doubled as a celebration of its first cohort of fourth-year residents. It currently houses 351 undergraduates from all years, in suites ranging from three- to six-bedrooms, and also features a dining facility, various programmatic spaces, and a private courtyard named for the project’s other major donors, trustee emeritus Stephen Heyman W’59 and his wife Barbara Heyman. The design, by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, features a green roof and rainwater-harvesting system that, along with other environmental measures, earned a LEED Gold certification from the US Green Buildings Council, in keeping with the college house’s theme of global sustainability.
Gutmann was joined onstage for the unveiling by William Lauder W’83 and Ronald Lauder W’65, and she also read a message from Leonard Lauder, who was recovering from back surgery. In a statement, the family called its commitment to Lauder College House “a love letter … to the students of Penn” and added that the University “has been pivotal in helping shape the ideas and experience” of the family members who have attended. “We are honored to be part of creating memories for students at Penn for generations to come.”