A multi-million-dollar donation from Purdue alumnus and former trustee Bruce White and his wife Beth will go toward turning the Union Club Hotel into a world-class facility, Purdue President Mitch Daniels announced Saturday morning.
"We're incredibly grateful," Daniels said during the announcement. "I think you'll be as fired up as we are."
The hotel was first added to the Purdue Memorial Union in 1929, when a new wing was built to accommodate 60 guest rooms, according to the Union's website. Since its beginning, the Union has seen sweet shops come and go, a general cafeteria turn into a seating area and all sorts of restaurants added for hungry students.
New renovations to the hotel, which sits in a nearly century-old building, are supposed to include adding a bar and restaurant, new furniture, amenities and fixtures. The restaurant will serve as a learning environment for students to work, train and use as internship opportunities.
The entrance to the Union Club Hotel will also be remade, and an atrium will be constructed to provide a grander entry into the University's hotel.
"We plan to beautify and make more inviting the south side of the building," Daniels explained. "I really believe that this will trigger a relocation of the foot traffic."
The historical architecture of the Union will not be completely remade, however. Michael Berghoff, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, assured Homecoming attendees that the Union would retain the special features that make it memorable.
"Almost all the design is aimed at keeping what we have and just enhancing the inside," Berghoff said.
The renovation designs haven't been completed yet, but Berghoff estimated the project would take about two years, start to finish.
"I am pleased to be able to put our resources to work for the renovation of the Union Club Hotel into a first-class facility that the students, faculty and staff can be proud to call their own," White said in a Purdue press release.
Daniels announced the gift in the Union Club Hotel's courtyard Saturday morning before the Homecoming football game, as part of Purdue's 150th anniversary. The announcement is part of the kickoff for Purdue's yearlong celebration of the sesquicentennial.