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The biggest-ever gift to BU has gotten bigger, and Shelton Hall has gotten a new name.
Trustee Rajen Kilachand (GSM’74) boosted his 2011 record $25 million gift to the Kilachand Honors College by another $10 million, which is being used to renovate the Shelton Hall student residence. That building, renamed Kilachand Hall in honor of the donor’s parents, will house Kilachand Honors College students. Both installments of Kilachand’s donation are part of the University’s $1 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign.
“Rajen Kilachand has shown us the transformative impact one individual can have at Boston University,” President Robert A. Brown says. “Rajen’s generosity also comes at a historic time for Boston University as we launch our first comprehensive campaign. He is an exemplar for all of us.”
Kilachand Hall, which currently has the capacity for 420 students, will house both Kilachand Honors College students and students from other schools. Renovations will not affect the second through eighth floors (the residential ones) and likely will leave in place the fourth-floor Writers’ Corridor, so dubbed because playwright Eugene O’Neill lived there in the 1950s, when the building was a hotel. The Nobel laureate died there in November 1953, and lore has it that his ghost haunts the fourth floor. Its residents publish their collected writings each spring. Originally one of the first Sheraton Hotels, the 1923 structure was sold in 1950 and renamed the Shelton Hotel. BU bought it in 1954 for dorm space.
Renovations will include a new elevator and stairwell to the ninth-floor lounge areas, which will double as lounge space and as a site for events hosted by the Kilachand Honors College and the University. The renovated first floor will have student study and meeting space, new offices for college staff, a seminar/conference room, a common room, office space for the Residence Life staff, and improved services, such as laundry facilities.
Other BU schools and programs also have designated residential space, because of the University’s belief that socializing with fellow students and faculty out of class supports in-class learning. And while the Kilachand Honors College is definitely part of a major research university, director Charles Dellheim, the first Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Professor, says it is a very personal program, with “the spirit of a small liberal arts college.”
The Kilachand Honors College plans to enroll 400 students by 2016 and offers classes for BU’s highest-performing freshmen. Its students enroll in one of BU’s undergraduate schools, but take a quarter of their credits through the college.
Kilachand is the president and chairman of the Dodsal Group, a Dubai-based multinational with engineering, mining, trading, and hospitality interests.