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Board names plaza, park, for major donors
November 16, 1998

The Board of Trustees on Tuesday named one of three new plazas under construction in the academic core of campus in honor of the family of Harry A. and Edith Gampel, and a nearby park after the family of Thomas J. and Bette Wolff.

The Gampels and the Wolffs are long-time friends of and donors to the University.

The Gampel commitment includes $1 million recently pledged to UConn's endowment. The Gampels pledged an identical amount 10 years ago, allowing University officials to reach the more than $4 million in private contributions needed to complete funding for what is now the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion.

The pavilion, home to the highly-regarded men's and women's basketball teams, is located across Hillside Road from the plaza that also will now bear the Gampel name.

Closer to the pavilion, a park of shrubs and flowers frames the bronze bust of a Husky dog, a favorite stopping point for fans attending games, students moving between classes, and families taking pictures at Commencement.

That park now becomes the Wolff Family Park in honor of the couple, who have made donations during the past decade totaling $1 million to the School of Business Administration and the Division of Athletics.

Harry Gampel graduated from UConn in 1943, and received an honorary degree in 1993; Thomas Wolff graduated in 1956.

The motion to accept the naming of the Gampel Plaza was proposed by Trustee Irving Saslow, who has known Harry Gampel for 60 years, since they were both residents of Hall Dorm as undergraduates at UConn.

"I'm extraordinarily pleased to be able to honor these friends, alumni and supporters of UConn. We could not possibly be on our current trajectory, moving into the company of the nation's finest research universities, without the support we receive from Harry, Edith, Tom and Bette, and many other generous alumni and friends like them," said President Philip E. Austin. "We're thrilled to be able to honor their efforts in this way."

The Wolff Family Park and Gampel Family Plaza are key to creating the northern entrance to the pedestrian campus core, which includes intersecting paths, lined with trees, shrubs, and seating areas. A central concept of the University's master facilities plan, the pedestrian way is designed to encourage interaction between students, faculty, and staff.

In other business, Trustee Claire Leonardi, chair of the trustees' executive compensation committee, announced that a comprehensive review of President Philip E. Austin's performance has been completed.

The two-year evaluation resulted in "broad agreement that the president deserves high marks," Leonardi said.

She thanked Austin for his hard work and noted that he had made progress "In a whole host of areas."

Richard Veilleux