Duncan family makes gift for student center at Notre Dame

Author: Sue Lister

Duncan Student Center Rendering of Duncan Student Center
(Click for larger image)

University of Notre Dame alumnus Raymond T. Duncan, his wife, Sally, and their family have made a gift to his alma mater for construction of the new west building of the Campus Crossroads Project. In recognition of the gift, the University will name the building the Duncan Student Center.

“We are immensely grateful to Ray and Sally and the Duncan family for this latest example of their extraordinary support of Notre Dame students, and for their leadership in helping secure Notre Dame’s future," said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “The Duncan Student Center will enhance a wide array of much-needed services for our students and have a lasting impact for many generations to come.”

Designed to enhance the overall student experience, the nine-story, 400,000-square-foot Duncan Student Center will be a focal point of student life at Notre Dame, offering vastly expanded study, recreational, meeting, career counseling and student activity space to serve the campus community throughout the year, while also accommodating the University’s hospitality needs on football game-day weekends in the fall.

“As we worked on campus planning in recent years, the need for a new student center, integrating student and academic life, continued to be an essential addition to our campus,” said John Affleck-Graves, executive vice president. “Ray and Sally share that vision with us and, as is so typical of them, have put student life first in their support of Notre Dame. I am honored to know them and join Father John in offering our thanks for this wonderful gift.”

The building’s first two floors will be the home to a 100,000-square-foot student center including an “Innovation Lab,” flexible meeting space, a coffee house, a marketplace dining area with two restaurants and open seating, and student lounge space all on the ground floor designed for daily use and campus events.

The second level of the student center, which will overlook the main concourse, will offer a variety of resources for graduate students, including a lounge, conference room, the Graduate Student Union and Graduate Student Life. Campus student media offices, currently dispersed throughout campus, will come together on this level in a new state-of-the-art suite of collaborative workrooms and studios. This level will also become home to the University’s directors of Residential Life and the Office of Housing.

The second level also includes a climbing wall that extends into a two-story recreational center above, connecting student fitness and social activity spaces on campus in form and function. The third floor will include a basketball court, cardio and free-weight exercise areas, a designated spin studio, locker rooms, three general fitness studios for group instruction, an innovative open area with modular exercise space and offices for the Rec Sports staff.

The fourth floor will offer additional workout space, creatively designed to allow for views onto the main floor of the Recreation Center below. It will include a three-lane, 260-meter indoor track, and extensive open space designed for individual exercise and recreational club fitness programs.

The fifth level of the building will house the University’s career services for undergraduates, M.B.A. and doctoral students, hosting corporate and nonprofit recruiters in a setting overlooking the campus. This space, expected to be the largest university career facility of its kind, will include more than 40 interview rooms, workspace for visiting employers, multiple conference areas, evening study space for students and career services staff office space.

“This extraordinary gift will provide our students with exciting new opportunities to build community — offering them spaces to create and perform, gather and connect, unwind and exercise, and access important campus resources that can support them both here on campus and beyond,” said Erin Hoffmann Harding, vice president for Student Affairs. "This facility is a physical embodiment of the integration we encourage our students to explore as they pursue their interests, nourish their well-being and discern their futures.”

The seventh level will feature a two-story ballroom for year-round University use, offering priority to students during the academic year. On game-day weekends, the ballroom will convert into an area for dining and fan experiences. The ballroom and club level will add premium outdoor club seating from goal line to goal line, and also will offer access to two open-air terraces that overlook the campus.

The building’s eighth level will feature a hospitality club, which will offer both outdoor and indoor premium seating, as well as food services and other premium amenities along a building-length concourse.
The top level of the building will accommodate both premium indoor seating and event operations space and will have access to open-air terraces overlooking the campus.

Construction of the Duncan Student Center began in November and will be completed by the summer of 2017.

“We are so blessed to have had four generations of the Duncan family attend Notre Dame,” commented Ray Duncan. “The essence of the University is student life. Our family is so pleased to be able to support the University’s effort and imprint a permanent legacy on life at Notre Dame.”

A 1952 Notre Dame graduate, Duncan is chairman and chief executive officer of Duncan Oil Inc. in Denver, Colorado, and founded Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, California. In addition, he is the founder of Purgatory Ski Resort near Durango, Colorado. Duncan has also pursued numerous entrepreneurial and philanthropic opportunities across a wide spectrum.

He is a former member of the College of Arts and Letters Advisory Council and a retired member of the Snite Museum of Art Advisory Council.

The Duncans’ support of the University also includes a gift in 2007 to build Duncan Hall, home to more than 230 male students, and the establishment of the Duncan Endowment for Excellence in American Art, which supports Snite Museum acquisitions, exhibitions, publications, education programs and research projects related to American art. The Duncans are also generous supporters of other areas of the University, including the Institute for Scholarship in Liberal Arts, Monogram Club, Department of Athletics and McCormack Scholarship.

The Duncan family includes five sons and one daughter, two of whom are Notre Dame graduates. They also have a daughter-in-law and grandson who are graduates. A member of the fourth-generation Duncan family is enrolling this fall.

Announced in January 2014, Campus Crossroads is the largest building project in Notre Dame history, integrating the academy, student life and athletics with the construction of more than 800,000 square feet in three new buildings attached to the west, east and south sides of the University’s iconic football stadium.

Contact: Sue Lister, director of media relations, 574-631-7916, sue.lister@nd.edu