President Kevin M. Ross delivered a surprise announcement in the state of the university address on Oct. 21: Lynn University will have a magnificent new university center, thanks to a $15 million gift from Board of Trustees Chair Christine E. Lynn.
Mrs. Lynn’s gift is extraordinary in two regards: It is the largest in university history, and it propels total fundraising in support of Lynn 2020 in the last 10 years to more than $100 million.
“The Christine E. Lynn University Center will stand at the exact geographic heart of our campus,” says President Ross. “And like a heart, this center will drive the pulse of our campus, enhancing the experience of every person at Lynn—students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors. We are profoundly grateful to Christine for not only this incredibly generous gift, but also for her longstanding leadership and friendship.”
A key challenge
Mrs. Lynn’s $15 million leadership gift provides others the opportunity to participate in this momentous project. Mrs. Lynn’s gift will match every dollar up to $15 million.
A legacy of giving
Lynn University would not be the institution it is today without the support of Christine Lynn and her late husband, Eugene M. Lynn. In the 1960s, he moved his company, U.S. Epperson Underwriting Company, and its affiliated company, Lumbermen’s Underwriting Alliance, to Boca Raton. Soon, he became a loyal friend to the university, then known as the College of Boca Raton. In 1974, he surprised then-President Donald E. Ross with a $100,000 personal check.
“It was the beginning of a long and wonderful friendship,” says President Emeritus Ross. “In 1991, we changed the college’s name to Lynn University to reflect our academic growth and to honor the Lynn family. The university lost a cherished friend when Gene died in 1999, but Christine embraced their legacy and remains our strongest supporter.”
Over the years, the Lynns have funded significant additions to campus. In 1999, Christine Lynn became chair of the university’s board of trustees. In addition to her leadership at Lynn University, she is widely known for her business acumen and support of healthcare and other education efforts. She is chairman of the board of Lynn Insurance Group and chairwoman of the Boca Raton Regional Hospital board of trustees. Her generosity has impacted virtually every charitable organization in the region, including Hospice by the Sea, the Florence Fuller Child Development Center, the YMCA and the ARC.
Asked about her motivation for supporting such worthy causes, Mrs. Lynn says she believes in “making a difference in other people’s lives and supporting our youth, as they are the future.”
In recognition of her service, she holds numerous honors, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Rotary International Outstanding Philanthropic Award for Leadership and its Paul Harris Fellow Award, Signature of Life award from The Wellness Community, admission to the Gables Society of giving at the University of Miami, and the National Jewish Medical and Research Center Humanitarian Award. The Christine E. and Eugene M. Lynn names grace buildings not only at Lynn University but also at Stetson University, Boca Raton Regional Hospital and Florida Atlantic University.
A ‘true Lynn University building’
With her latest gift, Christine Lynn again leaves an indelible imprint on Lynn University.
“Lynn University has experienced substantial growth, and I am proud that it carries our family name,” Mrs. Lynn says. “This new building is vital to our continued growth and success as a university.”
Adds President Ross, “The Christine E. Lynn University Center will be much more than a beautiful building; it will truly transform the daily lives of everyone on campus—especially those of our students.”
The center’s design is the culmination of years of preparation, beginning with the Lynn 2020 strategic plan in 2005 and the Campus Master Plan, developed with the Gensler design firm and approved by the board of trustees in 2009. The latter was based on university-wide input and addresses every aspect of the campus—from environmental and energy considerations, to parking and traffic flow, to pedestrian pathways and campus configuration (with residential, academic and athletic quadrants) to Lynn’s distinctive architecture.
“Our approach is based on Lynn University’s core values as a vibrant, energetic campus,” explains Gensler Senior Associate Cliff Bollmann. “The goal is to drive an energy on campus and create a space where students want to be.”
The center’s design combines social and learning spaces that serve students day and night. A major feature will be a large central “living room” for informal gatherings and presentations. This area, envisioned for the center’s northeast corner, will include expansive glass windows, allowing students walking by to see all the activity inside and be enticed to join in.
The center also will be home to Lynn’s award-winning 24-hour dining as well as other dining and common spaces. Additional components will include collaboration rooms, a campus store, a mailroom, a coffee shop, student government and activities rooms, outdoor patios and student affairs offices.
“It will be a one-stop destination for students to find services, food and other activities,” Bollmann says.
The center, together with future residential spaces such as the newly announced Mary and Harold Perper Residence Hall, will help Lynn increase student residency, driving campus density and engagement for the eventual enrollment of approximately 3,000 students.
Freshman and sophomore residents will live in existing residence halls close to the center of campus and the Lynn University Center. As students advance to their junior and senior years, they’ll move to the new residence halls planned at the southern perimeter of campus.
Connecting it all will be a new pedestrian spine, or pathway, extending diagonally southeast to northwest from the newer residential quad to the academic quad, with the Christine E. Lynn University Center at the heart.
The center’s crowning element will be an inviting green space envisioned as a park dedicated to Mrs. Lynn. Here, future generations of students can gather to appreciate Lynn’s outdoor beauty, the university center and, most importantly, the person who made it possible: Christine Lynn. Its design, now under development, will tell Mrs. Lynn’s story—one forever linked to the university that bears her name.
The Lynn legacy
Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn’s generosity is seen throughout the university, in capital projects, scholarships, faculty endowments, and academic, athletic and cultural programs. Facilities made possible by their donations include:
- Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn Library
- Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn Residence Center
- The Christine Room, now Christine’s market-fresh bistro
- Christine E. Lynn Salon in the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center
- Christine E. Lynn Lobby in the Mohammed Indimi International Business Center
- Lynn University Remembrance Plaza