Chatham University has received a $15 million grant—the largest in its 144-year history—from the Falk Foundation to support it’s School of Sustainability & the Environment at the Eden Hall campus in Richland Township.
The school will use the money to create the Falk Sustainability Endowment to support academic programs in Chatham’s interdisciplinary School of Sustainability & the Environment as well as help fund campus construction at Eden Hall.
“For more than 50 years Chatham University and the Falk Foundation have shared a deep commitment to addressing some of the most challenging issues of the times,” said university president Dr. Esther Barazzone.
“It is this longstanding relationship and history that makes Chatham so deeply moved to announce the Falk Sustainability Endowment and its impact in accelerating our efforts to prepare students to lead the adoption and implementation of solutions to the immense challenges of living sustainably on the planet both now and in the future.”
In honor and recognition of this gift, Chatham’s School of Sustainability & the Environment will also be renamed the Falk School of Sustainability at Chatham University.
The Falk Foundation’s relationship with Chatham, which extends nearly half of Chatham’s existence, started in 1952 with the funding of Chatham’s Falk Hall, named in honor of Laura Falk, wife of the Falk Foundation’s founder, Maurice Falk
Sigo Falk, Chair of the Falk Foundation, has been a Chatham Board of Trustee since 1981, was chair of the board of trustees from 1995 to 2002 and has been vice chair from 2002 to the present.
“The relationship between the Falk Foundation and the University transcends financial support, however,” Sigo Falk said. “Both represent a history of progressive thinking and a shared commitment to our capacity to meet our current needs without compromising the ecological, social and economic systems upon which we rely for the future.”
The Eden Hall Foundation donated the 388-acre farm to Chatham in 2008.
Previously, the late Sebastian Mueller, a vice president at H.J. Heinz Co., owned and set up the farm as a retreat for the company's working women.
Last October, the school broke ground on the $40 million initial phase of the campus. Using the latest in environmentally responsible technology, design and innovation, Eden Hall is expected to be self-sustaining in every way, including by producing zero carbon emissions and more energy than it consumes.
In addition to the preservation of a dairy barn, which will house a café and library, the current phase includes the construction of a field lab that will contain classroom and lab space, an aquaculture lab, a small seminar area, and an on-lot sanitary monitoring room that will be accessible to students and visitors.
Geothermal wells, constructed wetlands, mosaic gardens, the construction of a hoop house for raising plants year-round and an outdoor amphitheater with seating for 250 will also take place during this phase.
The construction in phase one is scheduled to be complete by Dec. 1. A dining commons and residence hall supporting 150 beds also are scheduled for completion in 2015.
Eden Hall will be a branch campus for Chatham in Pittsburgh’s North Hills communities. It is designed to one day serve 1,500 students.