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Kilachand Honors College Students Get Their Own Home

Another $10 million from GSM alum to renovate Shelton Hall

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The biggest-ever gift to BU just got bigger, and Shelton Hall just got a new name.

Trustee Rajen Kilachand (GSM’74) has boosted last year’s record $25 million gift to what is now called the Kilachand Honors College by another $10 million, which will be 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 just-announced $1 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign.

“He 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,” with the renamed Kilachand Hall “another permanent reminder of his impact.”

The renovations to the dorm are still being designed, and Kilachand Hall, which currently has capacity for 420 students, will house both Kilachand Honors College students and those from other schools. The renovations will not affect the second through eighth floors (the residential ones) and likely will leave in place, near-term anyway, the fourth floor’s 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 (“Eugene’s Legacy”) each spring. Originally one of the first Sheraton Hotels, the 1923 structure was sold and renamed the Shelton Hotel. BU bought it in 1954 for dorm space.

Walt Meissner (CFA’81), associate vice president for operations, says the 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).

Meissner says that as the headline occupant of the building, the Kilachand Honors College “will have the flexibility to expand its residential program,” which “is an essential component to building and fostering the Honors College community.”

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.”

Dellheim, who is also a College of Arts & Sciences professor of history, says Kilachand’s gift gives students at his namesake college “the opportunity to live together, to get to know each other in informal, social situations, and to have faculty and students meet outside of the classroom.”

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.

The gift and the marriage of the Kilachand Honors College to a dorm “allows us to fully realize the possibilities of a residential honors college at BU,” says Jean Morrison, provost and chief academic officer. “This latest gift completes the creation of this college-within-a-college.…It is a true point of pride for Boston University, and we are thankful to Mr. Kilachand and excited for what the future holds.”

Kilachand announced his initial gift a year ago this month. He is the president and chairman of the Dodsal Group, a multinational with engineering, mining, trading, and hospitality interests. He has also given money to programs ranging from AIDS to arts around the world. He earned his MBA at BU and then lost touch with the University. Kilachand credits Brown with reaching out to him and other foreign alumni in recent years to reconnect them with the University.

15 Comments
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

15 Comments on Kilachand Honors College Students Get Their Own Home

  • S on 09.27.2012 at 10:02 am

    This is such a waste of money, but at least it’s better to renovate the dorms we already have instead of continuously building new things when the old ones are in bad condition.

    • R on 09.27.2012 at 11:19 am

      So…it’s not a waste of money?

      • Q on 09.27.2012 at 12:25 pm

        I think a lot of current KHC students would rather see the money used to create scholarships, stipends for work/research, ect. (stuff that actually improves the quality of the program) rather than spent on shiny new office space.

        • P on 11.18.2012 at 1:45 am

          I just had to.

  • Hmm on 09.27.2012 at 11:07 am

    Seems the going rate to put your name on a college and a dorm at BU is about… $35 million. Good to know.

  • Current Undergrad on 09.27.2012 at 11:38 am

    So is Shelton Hall going to only be open to those students who are in the Honors College or who want to live in the Writer’s Corridor? And what about the other specialty floors in the building? I am very confused by this entire article.

    • bualum84 on 09.27.2012 at 1:29 pm

      “The renovations to the dorm are still being designed, and Kilachand Hall, which currently has capacity for 420 students, will house both Kilachand Honors College students and those from other schools.”

  • J on 09.28.2012 at 12:39 am

    If those kids are already smart, shouldn’t we be spending the money on getting everyone else caught up?

    • Rupert Manlove on 10.01.2012 at 12:12 am

      we tried, but they spent it all on chicken fingers at late night

  • BUalum06 on 09.28.2012 at 8:24 am

    Specialty housing is one of BU’s strengths. Those who chose to be a part of these types of programs and housing options have such a rewarding experience, and the synergy created by group housing strengthens the overall program and thus the university as a whole. For those who do not wish for specialty housing, BU is not short on other options.

  • A on 09.28.2012 at 10:08 am

    Let’s get real. More than half of the Kilachand students don’t chose to live together when they aren’t forced to after the first year. Actually, a lot of them thretened to quit the honors college when they couldn’t choose to live away from each other. Students had a very hard time changing roommates if they were both in honors college, even if they were stuck with a horrible random one. And the amount of money the Honors college throws at fancy food and housing shows how little of it they actually will invest in opening educational opportunities for their students.

    I’m so glad I quit the KHC. It’s one of the snobbiest developments on campus, and they’re very lucky they keep getting huge donations by people who haven’t actually seen how confining their programs are.

  • BUalum06 on 09.28.2012 at 11:35 am

    Well we certainly had a different experience.

  • Michelle on 09.28.2012 at 6:41 pm

    Could we please put the money where it’s needed for once? How about fixed the structural issues that are causing water damage in Towers and the Fuller Building? How about giving the 3rd floor of CFA new easels so they stop collapsing on students and sending them to the hospital every year (really all of the visual arts department in CFA needs updating)? How about decent lighting for Warren Towers? More aid for students? The list goes on and on…..

  • Er, Michelle on 10.01.2012 at 12:08 pm

    If you’d like to give $35 million to those things, by all means. A donor gets to choose what he or she supports.

  • Henry Metz on 10.02.2012 at 9:57 pm

    Honestly, people? Here’s an institution that has spent millions upon millions of dollars trying to improve the undergraduate and graduate student experience, and yet there’s still a sizeable segment of the student and alumni population that just won’t stop complaining. This was true back when I was a student (’79-’83) and, sadly, it appears not much has changed. Do you all realize that you sound like a bunch of spoiled brats when you find something negative to say about a $35 million donation to the university? Look around, folks. BU has made monumental improvements in its infrastructure, the quality of its student body and its teachers. And it’s working harder than ever to improve the quality of its educational offerings, to expand affordable access to the university through a bigger endowment, and on and on. I, for one, plan on tuning out every bit of negative energy directed at my beloved school.

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