Lauritzen family funds Whitman College dormitory

The Lauritzen family of Omaha, Neb., has made a $5.5 million gift to fund the construction of an imposing new gothic dormitory within Whitman College, Princeton University's newest residence complex.

The gift comes from Bruce R. Lauritzen, a member of the class of 1965; his wife, Kimball; and his mother, Elizabeth Davis Lauritzen. His late father, John R. Lauritzen, was a member of the class of 1940. Bruce Lauritzen, a prominent Nebraska philanthropist, is chairman of First National Bank of Omaha.

The new dormitory, to be named Lauritzen Hall, will overlook the large lower courtyard of Whitman College. Whitman is the first of Princeton's colleges to be built from the ground up rather than pieced together from existing structures. As part of a major reorganization of Princeton's residential college system, the college will include students from all four undergraduate classes as well as graduate students.

"This splendid gift brings us closer to the day when we can welcome an expanded student body to a new residential college system that will strengthen the academic and social ties within our University community," said President Shirley M. Tilghman. "We are deeply grateful to the Lauritzens for their generosity and foresight."

Over three generations, five members of the Lauritzen family have attended Princeton, including Bruce Lauritzen's son, Clarkson D. Lauritzen '99; his late uncle, George F. Lauritzen '37 (remembered in Princeton baseball history for pitching a no-hitter against Lehigh in 1935); and his cousin, Peter L. Lauritzen '62. The gift pays tribute to the outstanding experience all these Princetonians had on campus.

"Princeton offers the finest undergraduate education in the country," said Bruce Lauritzen. "Our family's goal is to see that the University not only maintains that excellence but even strengthens it going forward."

Bruce Lauritzen's ties to Nebraska date to the founding of Omaha in 1854. A century later, John Lauritzen became a pioneer in another realm, as one of the early innovators of the bank credit card industry. Together, John and Elizabeth Lauritzen were leading philanthropists in the Omaha area, and today, Elizabeth Lauritzen continues her generous support of educational and civic institutions.

Bruce Lauritzen received a master's degree in business from the University of Virginia's Darden School, where he now serves on the board of trustees. As a Princeton alumni leader, he has served on the Development Leadership Council and as Midwest regional chair for the Anniversary Campaign for Princeton. He is a volunteer solicitor for the University's Annual Giving effort, and serves as an officer of the Missouri Valley Princeton Alumni Association – as he has done for more than three decades.

In addition to raising three children, Bruce and Kimball Lauritzen have been actively involved in a wide range of charitable and civic organizations in Nebraska and beyond. Among many activities, Bruce Lauritzen currently serves as president of the Omaha Development Council and Foundation; as the Royal Danish consul for the state of Nebraska; as chairman of Clarkson Regional Health Services; and as treasurer of the Nebraska Medical Center.

Kimball Lauritzen has received numerous awards for her community service, including the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice; the Girl Scouts Women of Achievement award; and the Arthritis Foundation's Woman of the Year award.

After graduating from Princeton six years ago, Bruce Lauritzen's son Clark worked for Goldman Sachs and received his MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2003, he returned to Omaha to join the family's banking business.

Whitman College, designed in collegiate gothic style by noted architect Demetri Porphyrios, is under construction between Baker Rink and Dillon Gymnasium and scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2007. The new college will make possible an 11 percent increase in Princeton's undergraduate student body, from about 4,600 to 5,100.