May 31st, 2013 | University

Alum donates $20 million to renovate SML nave

seideman_sterling-2
Photo by Blair Seideman.

Richard Gilder ’54 and his wife, Lois Chiles, donated the $20 million gift that will fund the upcoming renovation of the Sterling Memorial Library nave.

The renovation of the entrance hall of the library — known as “the nave” because of its resemblance to a cathedral — was announced in fall 2011 after the Yale Tomorrow Campaign received the Gilders’ then-anonymous donation. The University revealed the identity of the donors in a Thursday statement.

In the statement, Gilder said the donation is in honor of University President Richard Levin, who is stepping down this summer after two decades at the helm of the University.

“I have the deepest respect and appreciation Dfor the way Rick [Levin] has steered his beloved alma mater through many difficult times,” Gilder said in the statement. “Today, Yale is firmly on the path to continued excellence, thanks to Rick’s consistent vision and leadership.”

The renovation of the nave — which will include the restoration of the stained glass windows and wordwork and a reconfiguration of the card-catalogs, circulation desks and seating areas — will begin in June and is expected to be completed by fall 2014. Starting June 3, patrons of the library will enter the building through a tunnel-like walkway through the nave while construction is underway.