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Wilson gets $2.3 million gift

May 10, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - An anonymous donor has given Wilson College $2.3 million to build the private women's college first specially designed center to house the 161-year-old school's archives.

Wilson President Gwendolyn Evans Jensen said Wednesday the money will be spent to convert the president's home, an old brick farmhouse on the campus along U.S. 11, into an archives center. The project will include renovating the house into classrooms, research space and public areas. An addition being built on the rear of the house will hold the archives. It will be designed for proper lighting and climate controls.

The archives are currently kept in a tunnel that connects several campus buildings, Jensen said.

"The donor, a Wilson alumna, cares personally about the archives of the college," Jensen said.

The woman has given money to the college previously to protect the archives, the president said. Some of the earlier money, in addition to being used to protect the archives, also enabled the college to hire a full-time archivist.

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Jensen said Sharpe House, an elegant late Victorian mansion on the south campus, will be renovated as the new president's house. Jensen will never live in it. She plans to retire at the end of the 2000-2001 school year, ending a tenure of more than a decade.

The $2.3 million gift is the largest of three major donations Wilson has received since the first of the year.

The first, for $1.1 million, will be spent on the college's Center for Sustainable Living, a working farm on the campus. Last month the college received a $1 million gift, also anonymous, to improve the library.

The latest gift, part of a six-year fund-raising plan that Jensen has led, brings to more than $33 million the amount the president has helped bring into the campus.

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