Cornell receives $3 million from Hall-Perrine

MOUNT VERNON — Cornell College will receive a $3 million award from The Hall-Perrine Foundation of Cedar Rapids after raising the matching funds 12-months ahead of schedule. The funds will help Cornell College expand and remodel The Commons, its student center.

Hall-Perrine provided the $3 million challenge grant in 2005 on the condition that Cornell raise the $6 million in 2-to-1 matching funds by December 2008.

Opened in 1966, The Commons houses the campus dining halls, bookstore, mail center, a fitness center, offices for student activities including the newspaper and radio station, a coffeehouse and several rooms for classes, meetings and small lectures. The facility serves as a central hub for student and faculty activity.

“The Hall-Perrine Foundation is pleased to be a part of Cornell College’s Extraordinary Opportunities campaign. We have long been impressed with their liberal arts tradition, and their involvement in the community,” said Jack Evans, president of the Hall-Perrine Foundation. “Our board of directors values the strategic vision for private higher education in Iowa that Cornell’s management has set forth.”

The renovation is expected to cost $12 million and will begin when fully funded.Plans are to increase the size of The Commons by one-third, including a major two-story addition in the rear, featuring a 3,200-square-foot multipurpose room capable of seating 200 people. A spacious entry, a revamped information desk, and a larger and more prominent bookstore are all planned. Other changes include open, airy lounge spaces and private dining and meeting rooms.

“The Commons is the heart of our campus, the living room, dining room and meeting place for every one of our students, faculty and staff. As Cornell continues to grow, we feel it is important to enhance the facility that touches everyone, every day,” said Board of Trustees Chair-elect John Smith, a 1971 Cornell graduate. “We’re thankful for the Hall-Perrine Foundation’s support for this project and its continued commitment to Cornell.”

In 1995 the Hall-Perrine Foundation awarded Cornell $3 million for renovations to Cole Library, which also serves as Mount Vernon’s public library. In 1998 the foundation awarded a $3 million challenge grant for renovations to Cornell’s fine arts facilities.

“The Hall-Perrine Foundation has been a strong partner over the years in providing our students with extraordinary opportunities,” said Cornell President Les Garner. “I am grateful for their generosity and commitment to higher education.”