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In 1995, less than two years after the completion of the Lammot du Pont Laboratory, the familiy of W.L. Gore's generosity made it possible for the University to realize Hugh Rodney Sharp's dream to complete construction on the Mall, according to the plan created by the architects Day and Klauder in 1915. The site that the new building was to occupy lay on the west side of the Mall--between Mitchell hall and Sharp Laboratory and directly across from P.S. du Pont Hall.
|The University employed Allan Greenberg, an internationally acclaimed interpreter of American Colonial style, to design a much needed classroom buiding to fit the site. Greenberg produced a monumental edifice of brick and limestone that is fronted by an arched arcade, supported by massive pillars. Gore Halll opened in 1998 to rave reviews from faculty and students alike, who love both the buiding's feeling of historic dignity and its state-of-the-art instructional technology. Observers were quick to note, however, that the new structure overawed P.S. du Pont Hall, its partner across the Mall.
H. Rodney Sharp had been disappointed by Du Pont Hall's aesthetic deficiencies when the building was first constructed in 1958. His effort to improve its facade by adding a pillared portico only partially obscured the structure's unadorned functionality. A problem of equal significance was the position of Du Pont Hall relative to the Mall. According to the cathedral-like layout envisioned by Day and Klauder, the front of Du Pont Hall should have been constructed in line with Wolf Hall and Brown Laboratory--close to the Mall walkway as in the nave of a church. It was, instead, built in line with Evans Hall, which, with its partner across the Mall, Mitchell Hall, had been set back as the cross axes of the cruciform plan.
The strikingly evident contrast between the architectural awkwardness of Du Pont Hall and the magnificence of Gore Hall provided the impetus for the University to rectify its design problem on the east side of the Mall and to increase the space available to the College of Engineering. In October 1998, President David P. Roselle announced the Univesity's first major fund-raising drive--called Campaign for Delaware--with an initial goal of two hundred and twenty five million dollars. While the campaign emphasized scholarship support and the creation of new, named professorships, bricks-and-mortar projects also were included. Most particularly, the fund-raisers focused on the diesirability of puttion a major addition on the front of P.S. du Pont Hall that could, at one stroke, resolve all of the problems associated with the structure.
To address Du Pont Hall, the University turned to the two foundations that had funded the building originally--P.S. du Pont's Longwood Foundation and Senor Elias Ahuja's Good Samaritan Foundation. Both responded with generous gifts that will cover a large portion of the cost of the technically complex addition. Allan Greenberg was once again retained to design a new facade that brings the building into line with Wolf Hall and that provides a fitting complement to Gore Hall across the Mall. While funds to complete the project are still being sought, the University is confident.y pressing forward on construction. With the competion of Du Pont Hall addition and renovation, the Mall that P.S. du Pont's anonymous gify made possible will truly be completed--and remarkably true to the specifications of its original planners.
The transformation that has taken place in Newark has been the result of a widely shared partnership. The people of Delaware, through their State appropriations from the General Assembly, have done much of the work. State funds, for example , provided seventeen million dollars toward the Lammot du Pont Laboratory. Aumni giving, gifts from friends, foundation support, and federal dollars have been extremely significant. Some of the most important and timely gifts have come from descendants of the immigrant philosopher, Pierre S. du Pont de Nemours.
Throughout the University's development, members of the du Pont family have provided assistance at key moments when no other source was available. On many occasions and in many fields, they have demonstrated the vision and commitment without which there can be no true excellence. In 1800, du Pont de Nemours wrote in his treatise on national education that if his ideas were realized, "We shalll have increased knowledge by giving it a worthy home. "
Providing good ecucational ideas with a "worthy home" has been the legacy of the du Pont family at the University of Delaware. We who learn, study, and create at the University salute this remarkable family, whose ongoing partnership with us continues to make the University a place that can bring a better future to all who are touched by it.