When media titan Leslie Moonves '71 addressed the Class of 2016 at Commencement last spring, he spoke glowingly of the value and versatility of his liberal arts education, citing Bucknell's role in his success.
Now Moonves, the chairman, president and CEO of CBS Corp., is returning the favor with a seven-figure commitment to the WE DO Campaign that supports the humanities at Bucknell. The funding will be applied to the expansion and renovation of Demosthenean Hall, which will house the Humanities Center.
"I've been fortunate to achieve great success in life, both personally and professionally, and much of that success rests on the foundation of the experiences afforded to me during my time at Bucknell," Moonves said.
"As an institution, Bucknell has a unique and special profile, particularly with its College of Engineering and, soon, its College of Management. But, for me, it all begins with the liberal arts," he continued. "My humanities classes at Bucknell — particularly in history, literature and theater — were personally enriching and broadened my perspective in ways that helped shape my career. Through this gift, I hope to help future generations of Bucknellians have those same wonderful opportunities."
The former Delta Upsilon fraternity house next to Bertrand Library will be home for the center, an initiative launched in 2015 to enhance the visibility of the humanities and foster excellence in scholarship and teaching. It will also house the Bucknell University Press and Griot Institute for Africana Studies.
Plans for the building were approved by the Board of Trustees after more than two years of meetings between administrators and Bucknell's Humanities Council, which includes representatives of each humanities discipline. Construction will begin in June, with a target opening of spring 2018. Moonves' commitment also includes endowed funding for financial aid. The Leslie R. Moonves Scholarship will benefit students with financial need, with preference given to those majoring in one of the humanities disciplines.
"Those who question the humanities' place in higher education today need look no further than Les Moonves," said Bucknell President John Bravman. "As a student here, Les' focus on language and the arts helped build a foundation for an extraordinary career, and this generous gift is a testament to how deeply he values both the humanities and providing others the opportunity to have a similar educational experience."
WE DO, The Campaign for Bucknell University
The most ambitious comprehensive campaign in University history, the WE DO Campaign has raised more than $450 million toward its half-billion-dollar goal, which it aims to reach this summer. There are many opportunities to support the humanities at Bucknell, including endowed professorships, scholarships, and the Humanities Center building and programs.