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UW-Madison gets $20 million donation to build new Letters & Sciences building


MADISON, Wis. — The next large-scale construction project on the UW-Madison campus will now become a reality thanks to a large donation by a pair of alumni.

Irving and Dorothy Levy Hall will house the Department of History and nine other Letters & Sciences departments under one roof, UW-Madison announced Wednesday. It will include 1,800 seats in 19 classrooms, partially replacing the aging Humanities Building’s classrooms.

The five-story building will be located at the southwest corner of Park Street and West Johnson Street after the demolition of the Susan B. Davis and Zoe Bayliss Co-op residence halls.

The project is being made possible by a $20 million donation by a pair of brothers, Marv and Jeff Levy, who both graduated from UW-Madison. The new building will be named in honor of their parents, Irv and Dorothy.

Their gift was contingent on the Wisconsin State Legislature including the project in the 2021-23 state budget, with $60 million in state money going toward the project. In addition to the Levy brothers’ $20 million donation, an additional $15 million in donations will be raised to pay for the project.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank says the last time UW-Madison built a classroom or office building for the College of Letters & Sciences was nearly 50 years ago, when there were 13,000 fewer students on the campus than there are now.

“Our students, our instructors, and our outstanding departments in L&S deserve a facility that is worthy of a top-ranked university — a building that not only provides modern classrooms that engage students and invite collaboration, but that also says something about how we value these core courses in humanities, social sciences, and the natural and physical sciences,” Blank said in a statement.

Construction on Irving and Dorothy Levy Hall is expected to begin in 2023 and should be completed by 2025.