On March 5, 1980, McKenna produced another missive about the Athenaeum project. The total project involved $2 million for the building and $4 million for the endowment. McKenna had already pledged a $2 million matching gift.
To enrich and expand the dining, discussion, and lecture program, Marian Miner Cook, widow of trustee John Brown Cook, donated $1 million toward the construction and endowment of the Athenaeum. She said at the time of her gift, “My husband was a creative man in his business and philanthropic interests. I shared many of his interests, and he shared many of mine. Together we had a challenging and exciting life. I hope the Athenaeum will help students to experience similar intellectual challenges and excitement.”
Cook’s gift enabled the College to reach its $4 million objective before the deadline, and construction began in fall 1982. Designed by Quincy Jones & Associates, the 15,000-square-foot facility was ready for dedication by September 1983.
On Sept. 9, 1983, the Jack and Jil Stark, together with Bernice and Donald McKenna, hosted a black-tie dinner at the Athenaeum in honor of its benefactors. The general opening was an open house on Sept. 11.
R E A D M O R E
A History of the Athenaeum: Chapter 1