Thanks to Robin and Timothy Wentworth, one of the most striking features of Raymond F. LeChase Hall now has a name. Wentworth Atrium, which will unify the three top floors of the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development's new home, will recognize the Wentworths for their $1 million gift to the school, announced November 2, 2012.
The Wentworths, who have one daughter who graduated from the University of Rochester and is now a teacher, and another who is an incoming College freshman, made the gift "in grateful appreciation to the University for its mission of education and research" and designated it to the "long-term facility needs of the Warner School of Education."
"Tim and Robin are wonderful examples of parents at the University who are helping lead the way for future generations of students," said President Joel Seligman. "K-12 education is a critical aspect of American education, and with this new facility to support its programming, the Warner School of Education will be able to strengthen programs in Rochester and influence models and research of national consequence."
"When we were designing this building and particularly the atrium, we were envisioning an open, vibrant space that serves as a hub for the Warner School community and opens us up to the larger campus and Rochester educational community," said Raffaella Borasi, dean of the Warner School. "We are incredibly grateful to the Wentworths for sharing our vision for the potential of the building as a community resource."
Rochester natives, the Wentworths attended Monroe Community College before pursuing further education and career opportunities outside of Rochester. Tim Wentworth, a graduate of Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations School, was recently named senior vice president and president of sales and account management for Express-Scripts, a pharmacy benefit management company in St. Louis. Both Tim and Robin have been engaged as key volunteers and supporters of the College since their first daughter came to the University. Two years ago, they established the Wentworth Family Endowed Scholarship for deserving transfer students.
"We love seeing the things that the University has been doing in our hometown," said Robin. "At first, we decided to endow a scholarship to help students who are coming from a community college transferring into the College because that's our history. After that, we decided to make a significant gift to the Warner School."
The Wentworths are members of the Northern New Jersey Regional Cabinet—part of a nationwide University network of alumni, parents, and friends—and the University's Parent Council, as well as co-chairs of the Executive Committee and the Parents Initiative for the University Campaign Cabinet. They also belong to the George Eastman Circle, the University's leadership annual giving society.
"We've seen some amazing leaders at other colleges that our three daughters have looked at or attended," said Tim. "But President Seligman's vision has been really inspiring. The University today is so much more than it was 30 years ago and has so much ahead of it that we wanted to be part of that. Our whole family has been fundamentally shaped by teachers at really important intervals. We believe our gift is going to an enduring, important institution not just for our hometown, but in fact for the world at large."
The Warner School of Education offers teaching and research programs in teaching and curriculum, educational leadership, higher education, counseling, human development, and educational policy. At Warner, research and the preparation of educators are interconnected with the school's many community outreach initiatives, including the Horizons summer school, the Science Stars after-school program at East High, and a literacy project at School 36.
Founded in 1958, the Warner School doubled its enrollment during the past decade and has outgrown its current space in Dewey Hall. LeChase Hall, which is expected to be ready for classes in January, will allow for an additional 20 percent growth, enabling the school to strengthen its existing programs and stay at the forefront of education. The top three floors of the $24 million structure will house classrooms, offices, and spaces to support professional development of educators and educational research and reform work. The first floor features an expansive suite of 14 classrooms that will serve the university's undergraduates during the day and the Warner School in the evening.
Raymond LeChase, for whom the new building is named, was founder of LeChase Construction Services, a Rochester construction pioneer, a noted philanthropist, and a dedicated supporter of education.