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Williams College Receives Anonymous $25M Gift to Support Projects

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College has received a $25 million gift commitment in support of three major initiatives currently underway on campus: constructing a new museum building, developing a comprehensive plan for athletics and wellbeing facilities, and endowing the All-Grant financial aid program. 
The donors, who wish to remain anonymous, say the gift reflects their desire to not only support Williams but also President Maud S. Mandel's strategic vision and plan for the college. 
"This remarkably generous commitment sustains our momentum for WCMA, will be a catalyst for financial aid, and is foundational for athletics and wellness. It will allow us to build upon areas of excellence that have long defined the college," Mandel said. "I could not be more appreciative of this extraordinary investment in Williams."
Of the donors' total gift, $10 million will help fund the first freestanding, purpose-built home for the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), a primary teaching resource for the college across all disciplines and home to more than 15,000 works. 
Each year, roughly 30 academic departments teach with WCMA's collection in as many as 130 different courses. 
The new building, designed by the internationally recognized firm SO-IL and slated to open in 2027, will provide dedicated areas for teaching and learning, greater access to the collection and space for everything from formal programs to impromptu gatherings. The college plans to fund at least $100 million of the total project cost with gifts.
Another $10 million will support planning for and early investments in a comprehensive approach to renewing the college's athletics and wellbeing facilities. 
The unexpected closure of Towne Field House in the fall of 2023 accelerated the college's work to examine its aging infrastructure. Towne's programming will temporarily move to a new Multipurpose Recreation Center, slated to open in late 2025 near the site of the current outdoor tennis courts, paving the way for a new athletics and wellbeing complex in the future.
The remaining $5 million of the gift commitment will help endow the college's All-Grant financial aid program, now in its second year. The program replaces traditional loans and work-study requirements with equivalent grants that don't have to be repaid. 
More than 50 percent of students currently receive financial aid. The $77.5 million financial aid budget already extends beyond tuition, room and board to cover expenses such as health insurance, unexpected medical bills, textbooks and art supplies, study abroad, and travel to and from campus. 
All-Grant adds another $6.75 million annually. Williams hopes to increase the amount of financial aid spending covered by the endowment beyond its current level of about 50 percent.

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Driver Fell Asleep Before Running Into Williamstown Porch

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Vermont woman was asleep at the wheel prior to crashing into a Simonds Road residence last week, according to a Williamstown Police Department report.
Nicole L. Bishop, 32, of Route 9 in Bennington, Vt., Wednesday afternoon was traveling north on Simonds Road (U.S. Route 7) when, "the operator fell asleep, crossed the marked double line, through [two] yards, and into the front porch of 1033 Simonds Road," according to a report written by Officer Brad Sacco.
The 2003 Toyota that Bishop was driving belonged to Angela Mattison Barr of Bennington, police said.
The car left the road just north of the turnoff for the Steinerfilm property and crossed through the front yards of two other properties before crashing into the front porch at 1033 Simonds Road, Sacco wrote.
Neither Bishop nor a passenger in the car, Dennis Young, 53, of Bennington, was transported from the scene by ambulance, according to a representative of Northern Berkshire EMS, which responded to the incident.
Likewise, no one living at the residence was reported to be injured.
According to the town's tax records, the home is owned by Jean M. Beliveau and Thomas E. Rand.
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