Douglass Building Renovation


At the Reinvented Frederick Douglass Building

The College of the 21st century immerses a remarkably and increasingly diverse student body in a residential experience designed to shape them into the global leaders of the future. Students increasingly aspire to become more culturally competent, to make friends across perceived boundaries of culture, religion, and race, to learn important skills and to experience and enjoy new kinds of recreation and communication. The demand for these transformative experiences challenges the College to reimagine our physical space in order to create the kinds of fertile ground they require.

With the former University Bookstore moving to College Town, the available space that it occupied in the Frederick Douglass Building provided the impetus for the University to not only consider a new use for that particular space, but to also explore the idea of renovating the entire building. The result will be a completely reinvented Frederick Douglass Building.

Centrally located, the Frederick Douglass Building is ideally situated to become a primary student destination on campus, and together with Wilson Commons, will form a reenergized hub of student life. In addition to the bridge that currently connects the building to Wilson Commons, a new one is planned to link to Rush Rhees Library, ensuring even greater student traffic flow. As a new student center, the renovated facility will include ample new space to house the recently established Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center (ICC), a new Language Center (LC), redesigned dedicated student gathering and event space, and a state-of-the-art dining facility. In this configuration, the project is one that will touch all students in the College and have a transformative impact on student life at Rochester. As we continue to see increases in the diversity of our undergraduate population and growth in international enrollments, the central location of the ICC and LC will provide visibility for the related centers of community learning and engagement. The proximity of the ICC and the LC will allow for joint programming, casual interactions, and unscripted cultural exchanges. It will increase the diversity of the student traffic through each of the spaces and broaden the population served by each center. 

The inclusion of dining and student gathering spaces will ensure that all students have reason to visit with regularity. The building will be an environment that fosters the intersection of academics and student life. Taken together, these changes to the building will have the most significant impact on student life in the College since the opening of Wilson Commons in 1976 and will serve as a visible statement of commitment to educating global citizens.

Named Gift Opportunities

You can help enhance the student experience at the University by making a lasting contribution in support of our student life and cultural programs and the facilities needed to expand them.

There are a number of spaces being created as part of this exciting and important renovation project that are available for naming at various gift levels. The following are listings of some of the spaces found on each floor.

Click on the thumbnail images to download a PDF of each floor.  (Requires Adobe Acrobat)

  • Dining Center    $3 million
  • Dining Lobby    $350,000
  • Faculty Dining Room    $250,000
  • Grand Staircase    $150,000
  • Private Dining Room    $100,000


  • Ballroom (Event space)    $2,000,000
  • Outside Terrace    $1,000,000
  • Gallery/Lobby    $750,000


  • Public Lounge/Commons    $500,000
  • Resource Center    $250,000
  • Language Lab    $150,000
  • Green Room/Multipurpose Suite    $75,000
  • Meditation Room    $50,000


  • Community Kitchen    $200,000
  • Community Room    $100,000
  • Large Meeting Room    $100,000
  • Medium Meeting Room    $50,000
  • Small Meeting Room    $35,000


If you have questions regarding naming opportunities, or would like a more comprehensive list, please contact Lisa Hall in our Advancement Office at (585) 273-3619 or

You can also find more information in our project brochure (PDF).