Morningside College announces $3 million donation for residence hall renovation

Jan 09, 2014

Morningside College has announced a $3 million donation from Norman Waitt Jr. and his Kind World Foundation to support the $12 million renovation of the college’s Lillian E. Dimmitt Residence Hall.

Morningside President John Reynders said, “This major gift will help us transform the 86-year-old Dimmitt Hall — our largest student residence — into a true living and learning center for the nearly 400 students who call it home during the academic year.”

Waitt is the founder and chairman of Waitt Company, a diversified investment company headquartered in Omaha, Neb. He is a 1986 Morningside graduate and a member of the college’s board of directors.

“As competition in the higher education marketplace continues to rise, parents and students expect more modern residence halls,” Waitt said. “The renovated Dimmitt Hall will provide students a modern, nurturing environment in which they can excel. I am truly honored and humbled to be part of this project that will pay dividends for Morningside students for decades to come.”

Morningside needs to raise an additional $5 million to start the Dimmitt Hall renovation, which will include upgrades to the building’s electric, plumbing and heating systems and the addition of air conditioning to all student rooms. Renovation plans also include improvements to the residence hall’s appearance and the surrounding grounds.

The Dimmitt Hall renovation is part of Morningside’s “Vision 2020: Transformation II” fundraising campaign. Publicly launched in October 2012, the campaign has raised more than $42.5 million toward its goal of $50 million by 2019, the 125th anniversary of Morningside’s founding.

The campaign already has funded a $1.5 million renovation of Eppley Auditorium that was completed in the fall. Construction started in the spring on a $13 million project that includes a new classroom building, a new advising center and remodeling the Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center. Construction is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2014.    

Other funds raised in the Vision 2020 campaign are dedicated to Morningside’s endowment and the annual scholarship fund.