Yale To Receive $6 Million from Lilly Endowment To Renovate Its Divinity School/Funds Enable Work to Begin in Summer

Yale University announced today that it will receive $6 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to restore and improve the historic buildings at the Yale Divinity School, enabling the work to begin this summer.

With this grant, the University is now prepared to proceed with the $38 million plan by architects Robert Kliment and Frances Halsband to restore and upgrade the historic Sterling Divinity Quadrangle.

“I am grateful for the Lilly Endowment’s vote of confidence in the future of theological education at Yale,” President Richard C. Levin said. “This grant, alongside the University’s direct investment and funds raised from other sources, will allow us to preserve an important part of our architectural heritage even as we adapt the buildings to the needs of today’s students and faculty.”

The plan moves the School’s center of gravity forward to the picturesque Sterling Divinity Quadrangle, where the Jeffersonian pavilions (which originally served as dormitories) will house seminars, classrooms, offices, and larger double-height spaces for the new Berkeley Chapel and the Great Hall of the Institute of Sacred Music. Thus, the plan ensures that the School can best serve a student body that has changed in basic ways – from one that was largely male, single, and lived on campus to one that is now largely coeducational, married, and commutes.

“The Lilly Endowment is a major source of support for theological education in North America, and extremely knowledgeable about it, so this magnificent gift is a powerful endorsement of the distinctive role that the Yale Divinity School plays in theological education,” Divinity Dean Richard J. Wood said. “On behalf of the entire Divinity School community, I want to thank the Lilly Endowment for this commitment that will allow the School to begin its reconstruction this summer.”

The Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company.

In keeping with the wishes of the three founders, the Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development.

“Yale Divinity School is a theological institution of the very first rank,” said Craig Dykstra, Vice President for Religion at the Endowment. “Much of the rest of theological education benefits from what Yale does. The aims of Yale’s programs – to train people for excellence in the Christian ministry and to produce theological teachers and scholars of outstanding quality – are very consistent with the aims of Lilly Endowment’s efforts in the field of religion.”

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