The New Hub of Campus: Gardner Legacy Gift Funds Key Teaching Space

The Gardners celebrate at the groundbreaking of the new Carolyn and Kem Gardner Building. The facility is due to open in fall 2018.

When Carolyn Barnes and Kem Gardner met in the late 1960s as U students attending classes in Orson Spencer Hall, or “OSH” as it was affectionately called, they couldn’t have imagined that one day they would be the lead donors for a new classroom building to replace it. “When I first learned that OSH was being torn down and we looked at the many wonderful, important memories we had there, I insisted we support this new building,” says Carolyn. With their generous legacy gift of $10 million, the university officially unveiled plans for the Carolyn and Kem Gardner Building on October 28, at a celebration near the building site. The $68 million structure, expected to open in fall 2018, will be designed as an innovative educational space with the latest technology to foster learning of the highest caliber.

Additional donors to the project include Chartwells Higher Education, the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, Rocco C. Siciliano, the Meldrum Foundation, Jeffrey K. and Sarah S. Scott, and the Richard and Leslie Haskell Family Foundation. Significant funding also will come from student fees.

The facility will be home to the U’s College of Social and Behavioral Science, with its seven departments, five programs, and several institutes and centers, including the Social Science Research Institute and the National Center for Veterans Studies. The Gardner building also will house the Hinckley Institute of Politics, the Office of Global Engagement, and the new School for Cultural and Social Transformation. In addition, the building will include 33 classrooms, two auditoriums, conference and project rooms, collaborative laboratory facilities, and several student study spaces. MHTN Architects will design the building and Okland Construction Company will build it.

“OSH was always a place of great learning and great professors,” says Carolyn, who earned a bachelor’s degree in teaching and learning from the U’s College of Education. After working for several years as a school teacher, she is now a math and reading tutor at Mountain View Elementary and serves on the board for the U’s School of Music. Kem graduated from the U with a bachelor’s degree in political science and received a juris doctorate from the College of Law. He currently serves as chairman of Gardner Company, a full service real estate company. Both Kem and Carolyn remain actively engaged in community service and philanthropic work.

“The university has always been a special place, full of wonderful memories of our friends, our teachers, and our classes,” says Carolyn. And now, the new Carolyn and Kem Gardner Building will provide similar memories for future students of the U. The university is deeply grateful to the generous donors who are supporting this important new facility. It will ensure an excellent experience for our students now, and into the future.