UW’s Matching Funds Pledge for Intellectual House Spurs Donations

The University of Washington’s recent pledge of $5 million to match gifts made to support the $10.6 million Intellectual House budget has already served as a catalyst for the project’s fundraising efforts.

Community, faculty, and tribal members have all stepped forward with contributions to help build the longhouse-style facility (formerly known as the House of Knowledge) that is scheduled to open in 2014 on the UW Seattle campus.

The President’s Minority Community Advisory Committee (MCAC) has come together to donate $5,000, reaching the giving level that will allow their name to be listed on the building’s donor wall. Several faculty in the UW Department of American Indian Studies are pooling a gift as well. The Suquamish Tribe, which has been giving approximately $15,000 annually to the project since its inception, just made another $10,000 contribution.

To join these groups and the UW in support of the Intellectual House, make a gift here.

“The UW’s pledge of $5 million in matching funds demonstrates the University’s commitment to realizing this 35-year dream of having a longhouse-style building, a ‘home away from home’ for Native students, built on the Seattle campus,” said Charlotte Coté, UW associate professor of American Indian studies and chair of the Intellectual House Planning and Advisory Committee.

The 19,000-square foot Intellectual House will provide a multi-service learning and gathering space for Native American students, faculty, staff, and others from various cultures and communities. It will feature a large central gathering space, meeting and classroom space, student lounge, computer and resource room, kitchen, and office space, and is expected to help UW improve recruitment, retention, and graduation rates for Native students, while honoring the region’s tribes.

In addition to the recent matching funds pledge, the Intellectual House also received a new Coast Salish name gifted by the late Vi Hilbert, an esteemed elder of the Upper Skagit Tribe. The name, , is a Lushootseed language word that means Intellectual House. Hilbert’s granddaughter and a practicum supervisor for the UW School of Social Work, Jill La Pointe, recorded an audio pronunciation of the name. Listen to the name here.

“Choosing a Coast Salish name for the Intellectual House not only recognizes and pays homage to the people whose land it will be built on, but using a name gifted to us by our respected Coast Salish elder, the late Vi Hilbert, also honors her legacy as a cultural leader and educator,” Coté added.

The planning and design of the facility has been precedent setting, with integral involvement of tribes, elders, students, and the community. The project is led by the Intellectual House Planning and Advisory Committee, which received the Multicultural Alumni Partnership’s Samuel E. Kelly Award in 2010. The committee is comprised of UW faculty, staff, students, and regional tribal representatives.

Seattle-based Jones & Jones is the project architect, known for designing the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., as well as campus longhouse facilities at the University of Oregon, Evergreen State College and North Idaho College. Johnpaul Jones, the firm’s founding partner, has a distinguished 40-year career and a design philosophy that stems from his Cherokee-Choctaw ancestry.

The state provided $300,000 in pre-design funding for the UW Intellectual House and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation will donate lumber worth an estimated $91,000.

For more information, please visit the Intellectual House web site.

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