CLAREMONT - Claremont McKenna College trustee and alumnus A. Steve Crown and wife, Nancy, have given the college a $7.5 million gift.

The Claremont Hall residence hall will be named in the family's honor, college officials said in a Thursday news release.

"I am so pleased to be a member of the Claremont McKenna College community and to be able to help make a difference," Crown said in a statement. "Nancy and I are thrilled that our gift is continuing to support the academic excellence that the college is known for and that the board has seen fit to name this magnificent hall in our honor."

Officials said the Crown family started the alumni re-engagement-centered Crown Challenge, which in three years has helped increase alumni participation from 38 percent to 48 percent.

The Crowns' gift pushes the Campaign for Claremont McKenna past the $610 million mark.

CMC president Pamela B. Gann said the naming of the award-winning Silver LEED residence hall for the Crowns was fitting.

"When one of our students heard about this new gift he said that it was great that alumni are giving for the improvement of students' experiences at the college," Gann said.

"Steve and Nancy Crown understand the importance of terrific residence halls at our college, where at least 95 percent of our students live on campus all four years."

LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - a four-tier rating system for high-performance green buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council.


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The residence hall is along Amherst Avenue. Architectural judges selected it as the 2009 Residential Architect Design Award, officials said.

Earlier this month, the Campaign for Claremont McKenna surpassed its $600 million goal with a $50 million gift from trustee and alumnus George R. Roberts.

Before this year's gifts, the campus received a $200 million gift from alumnus Robert Day in 2007 to create premier training in economics, finance and accounting at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Board chairman Harry T. McMahon was excited about the Crowns' gift.

"Steve Crown's generosity is as big and broad as his philanthropic vision," McMahon said in a statement. "The Crown Challenge has been one of the most impressive gifts ever to CMC and now Steve and Nancy have given the college another notable contribution and we are very grateful."


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