Kroon Hall Dedication Celebrates a New Era of Sustainability at Yale

Mary Jane Kroon, Richard E. Kroon ’64, Dean James Gustave Speth ’64, ’69 LL.B., Edward P. Bass ’67, and Provost Peter Salovey ’86 Ph.D. cut the ribbon at the Kroon Hall dedication ceremony.

On May 7, 2009, Yale University celebrated the dedication of Kroon Hall as the new home of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. More than 170 alumni, parents, and friends gathered in the building’s Burke Auditorium for the event.

The construction of Kroon Hall was made possible thanks to many generous donors, including Mary Jane and Richard E. Kroon ’64 and Edward P. Bass ’67. The University’s greenest building to date, it is a focal point for environmental innovation at Yale and an inspiration for best practices in environmental stewardship on campus and around the world.

The celebration opened with remarks from F&ES Dean James Gustave Speth ’64, ’69 LL.B. “Kroon Hall we love because it has already brought our family together,” he said noting that the school was once spread across many more buildings. “There is a tremendous new collegiality that is being born here.” He also credited the building’s sustainable features with both influencing and educating the Yale community, which has undertaken a comprehensive effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Dean Speth then introduced Sir Peter Crane, who will become the Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. Dean on September 1, 2009. Dean Speth served in the position since 1999 and was an important leader in building a facility that reflects the School’s highest ideals in conservation and sustainability.

Platinum LEED Certified, Kroon is an inspiration in green building technology

Campaign Co-Chair Ed Bass also addressed the gathered crowd. He said, “The ambition to be green to this extent is no small one.” Kroon Hall is one of the largest platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings in the United States. The platinum rating is the highest possible from the U.S. Green Building Council and has been acquired by fewer than 100 commercial buildings worldwide. Bass also identified Kroon Hall as part of a larger project to transform Science Hill, creating destinations that look and feel more like Yale.

Before the official dedication, lead donor Richard Kroon shared his thoughts about the project as well. Kroon, whose brother and four sons also attended Yale, said that it was his children who brought the pressing need to protect the earth to his attention. “This is the most important contribution to the environment we can make,” he said, sharing his pride in launching a site that will train people for world-changing jobs as environmentalists. He also took a moment to remember his late son Andrew Kroon, who was a member of the Yale class of 2004 and was slated to join the F&ES master’s program in the fall of 2005. “We are confident that the graduates of this program will carry out Andrew’s vision and mine,” he said.

Provost Peter Salovey thanked everyone in attendance and led the ribbon cutting. Made of sustainable fiber, the ribbon hung between two live trees that will be planted in New Haven as a part of the Urban Resources Initiative. The evening concluded with a celebratory dinner and guests enjoyed time to admire the building.

Donors support unique spaces and sustainable features

Kroon Hall is a treasure trove of stunning features and sustainable technology, which were supported by donors to the project. Gilman Ordway ’47 established the building’s Ordway Learning Center, and Emily and Carl W. Knobloch, Jr., made a gift to create the Knobloch Environment Center. Both spaces provide a natural gathering place for the School and the Yale community. The Burke Auditorium, named by Susan and Coleman Burke ’63, offers a 175-seat facility for conferences and other events. A contribution from Adrienne and John F. Mars ’57E made possible the aquatic pond and water harvesting system, and Joan O.L. Tweedy supplied the building’s photovoltaic panels. Diana and Jonathan F.P. Rose ’74 funded the colonnade and concourse, now named Speth Walk in honor of the dean.

(May 22, 2009)

May 22, 2009