The new History of Art Department building, which is currently under construction next to the Art and Architecture building, will be named for Jeffrey Loria ’62, the University announced yesterday.

Loria, who is an art dealer and the owner of the Florida Marlins Major League Baseball team, majored in art history while at Yale. University officials declined to disclose the amount of Loria’s gift, but he has been identified as the lead donor for the project. The new building is part of the $500 million Arts Area Plan to build and renovate homes for the University’s arts programs.

Loria was unavailable for comment on Thursday night.

The building — which is being designed by architect Charles Gwathmey ARC ’62 — will officially be named the Jeffrey Loria Center for the History of Art and will open after the renovation of the A&A building is complete in June 2008. Vice President for Development Inge Reichenbach said now that the building’s plans are finalized and a lead donor has been found, her office will raise additional funds to cover the costs of constructing the new facility.

Loria made the gift to the University several years ago, but he and Yale decided not to make it public until construction was under way, Yale President Richard Levin said. Loria has made several previous donations of works of art to the University, Levin said.

“His hope of some day being able to support a new building at Yale was something he has thought about for years,” Levin said. “He was interested in [the new art history building] right from the beginning.”

Among other works of art, Loria donated a 30-foot Roy Lichtenstein sculpture that was installed on Science Hill in 1994 in honor of Levin’s inauguration as president.

A $20 million donation from Sid Bass ’65 will support the renovation of the A&A building.

Reichenbach said no lead donor has yet been found for the new building to house the sculpture department, which is also under construction.

“The sculpture building presents a naming opportunity for a donor who wishes to have his/her name associated with it, but it was not a building that required gifts to be in hand before construction started,” she said in an e-mail. “It will be an opportunity for interested donors and I think when the building is completed, it will receive a lot of attention and interest.”

Although members of the History of Art Department were not informed of the gift, history of art professor Edward Cooke said the new facility is sorely needed. The new building will allow the department to clear out of the art gallery and to have departmental offices in a centralized location, he said.

“[Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects] has been fabulous in terms of working with us and anticipating needs,” he said.

—June Torbati contributed reporting.