The easternmost of Colgate’s two new residential facilities will be named Burke Hall, in recognition of a $10 million gift from Gretchen ’81 and Steve ’80 Burke P’11,’20.
“On behalf of the entire Colgate community, I thank the Burkes for their remarkable generosity at this important moment in the history of the University,” President Brian W. Casey said in an announcement to the University community today.
Colgate’s two new residence halls, which will welcome first-year and sophomore students this fall, will help to shape campus life while advancing the academic mission of the University. Each new building will provide housing for 100 students as well as new classrooms and seminar rooms, offices, and student lounges. Featuring native stone and design elements that reflect other buildings across campus, the halls frame a new quadrangle designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
Burke Hall and its neighbor across the courtyard, Jane Pinchin Hall, are the only new residential additions to the upper campus since Stillman Hall was completed in 1927. Burke Hall will be part of the Residential Commons vision that connects students with the campus’s academic core and with one another by fostering strong community through integrated intellectual, social, and leadership programs.
The design of the two new residence halls, by the architecture firm of Robert A.M. Stern Associates, and their role in Colgate’s Residential Commons system inspired the Burkes, who were both resident advisers while students at Colgate.
“We are proud to be part of this historic moment and honored to see our name join Professor Pinchin’s on the Residential Quad,” Gretchen said. “During my student days, she was a favorite faculty member and my thesis adviser. When Steve was a trustee, we knew her as an active interim president. These new facilities, bearing the names of those who have shared a lifelong love for Colgate, will advance the University’s vision for its third century, supporting both the personal and academic growth of students for generations to come.”
Gretchen joined Colgate’s Board of Trustees in 2011, and she served four years as vice chair. She is active on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Steppingstone Scholars, Inc.; and the Episcopal Academy, where she is chair emerita. Gretchen earned her degree in English, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and received Colgate’s Maroon Citation in 2016. She worked in banking after receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School and retired to raise their five children.
Steve is currently CEO and president of NBC with a significant record of executive-level success as former president of Comcast Cable, president of ABC Broadcasting, and president and COO of Euro Disney S.A. He is a member of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Steve earned his degree in history, was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and received a Maroon Citation in 2010.
Members of the James B. Colgate Society, the couple has touched initiatives across campus with their past gifts, establishing the Stephen ’80 and Gretchen Hoadley ’81 Burke Endowed Scholarship and the Gretchen Hoadley Burke ’81 Endowed Chair for Regional Studies. They have supported the Colgate Fund, athletics, OUS, internships, strategic initiatives, the general endowment, and the renovation of the Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology.
“The naming of Burke Hall,” Casey said, “is a transformational gift from two graduates with a deep history of dedication and generosity to Colgate.”