Donations to fund institute face-lift |

Donations to fund institute face-lift

John ColsonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN The Walter Paepcke Memorial Building at the Aspen Institute campus will get a major face-lift after all, thanks in large part to a pair of $3 million donations.Institute president Walter Isaacson announced the renovation plan Wednesday, only days after he received confirmation of the donation by part-time Aspenites Stewart and Lynda Resnick and a matching donation by Leonard and Evelyn Lauder.With that $6 million in hand, Issacson said, the renovation, possibly costing $8 million or more, will remain in the early planning stages as additional money is raised. He also said the Resnicks and the Lauders both will be honored with the placement of plaques in the renovated building.”They’ve been awesomely generous, very quietly, for a long time,” Isaacson said of the Resnicks.”And to do this was very gracious as well,” Issacson continued, referring to a 2006 communitywide controversy when the institute attempted to thank the Resnicks for their gifts by renaming the organization’s signature facility – Paepcke Auditorium – after them.The ensuing uproar once The Aspen Times reported the renaming plan, prompted Issacson to withdraw the renaming idea and the Resnicks to “redirect” their donations to other institute building programs, including the recently opened Doer-Hosier Center and the institute’s health center.Issacson said Wednesday that he had been talking with the Resnicks about further donations, and they offered to make the donation only a day or two ago. He also said Lynda Resnick is scheduled to be at the Doer-Hosier Center this week for an art show named in honor of the Resnicks.”I am particularly pleased by the wonderful generosity and grace of the Resnick family,” Isaacson said. “When they offered this gift last year, I proposed that we would name the auditorium in the Paepcke building in their honor. That aroused controversy, and our plans were put on hold. They the Resnicks said they wished to go ahead with their gift anyway, without the naming, I was deeply appreciative.”He said that over the years, the Resnicks have donated money not only to the Doer-Hosier and athletic club renovations, but also to forums such as Communications in Society and the Health, Biomedical Science and Society Initiative.The Lauders, too, have been longtime and significant supporters of the institute, Isaacson said. Leonard Lauder is the acting chairman of the institute, and he and members of his family “have been significant supporters of the Aspen Institute for 30 years.” He said they donated funds to a 1994 renovations program, and to recent landscaping and patio renovations, as well as such institute forums as the Aspen Executive Seminar and the Socrates Program.To raise the rest of the money for renovation of the 44-year-old Paepcke Building, Isaacson said, an advisory committee has formed, consisting of Melva Bucksbaum, Toni Du Brul, Merrill Ford, Bill Kane, Howie Mallory, George Stranahan and Paula Zurcher.Once the money is raised, Isaacson said, an architect will be hired and a construction schedule will be drawn up.John Colson’s e-mail address is

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