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17 December 2001

Generous Donation from USA for New Hall of Residence in Heidelberg

$ 450,000 from the American Max Kade Foundation — Shortage of accommodation for students has peaked this term

With a generous donation of $ 450,000, the American Max Kade Foundation is helping to fund the construction of a new students' hall of residence on the Neuenheimer Feld campus in Heidelberg. Response to the news by the University and the Studentenwerk (the organisation whose responsibility it is to ensure the provision of central facilities for students) has been doubly enthusiastic because the shortage of accommodation for students has taken on dramatic dimensions in the current winter semester.

The newspaper headlines in October pointing out the acute lack of accommodation for students in Heidelberg are still etched in the memory. October saw the arrival of almost 6,000 would-be first-years in Heidelberg, 1,250 of them abroad. In November a significant number of them still had no permanent roof over their heads. The University fears that many of them may have turned their back on Heidelberg for good because without somewhere to live there was no way they could properly embark on their studies.

It was clear that the only real way of alleviating the situation was to build a new hall of residence. But where was the money to come from? Hence the profound gratification that a new international hall of residence on the Neuenheimer Feld campus has now become a viable proposition thanks to the American Max Kade Foundation.

Max Kade was a Swabian who emigrated to America around the turn of the last century. His name has become synonymous with the promotion of German-American relations in higher education. Max Kade bequeathed a large part of his fortune to establishing the non-profit organisation that bears his name. It has been active in supporting higher-education institutions in Germany and America and in the past has already helped to finance new halls of residence. Heidelberg's students have been among those to profit from the Foundation's generosity. In the 1960s it part-funded the Max Kade House at 684 Neuenheimer Feld, which at present provides accommodation for more than 70 students from all over the world.

Much of the credit for the Foundation's decision to renew its commitment to Heidelberg goes to its President, the New York attorney Dr. Hans G. Hachmann. Dr. Hachmann and his wife visited Heidelberg in early 2000 at the invitation of the University and the Studentenwerk. Dr. Hachmann was able to convince himself at first hand that Germany's oldest university is still right at the top of the list for American students and that the Studentenwerk's exemplary record in looking after international students creates ideal conditions for a successful degree course.

It was at this time that the idea of putting up an international students' hall of residence took shape, with enthusiastic support from the President of the Foundation. The Studentenwerk and the University Construction Office joined forces to elaborate a viable concept and only a few weeks after his return to the US Dr. Hachmann was able to confirm that the Max Kade Foundation would be wiling to provide financial support for the undertaking. In November of this year the project was signed and sealed. The President of the Kade Foundation, Dr. Hachmann, the Rector of the University of Heidelberg, Prof. Hommelhoff, and the Director of the Studentenwerk, Dieter Gutenkunst, put their names to the donation agreement and that was the green light to go ahead and apply for planning permission.

Building work commences early next year in the close vicinity of the existing high-rise hall of residence at 133 Neuenheimer Feld. Together with the latter, the new construction, consisting of three low units, will form a harmonious complex sharing an extensive inner garden court designed to serve as a communication and encounter area. As of summer 2003, 76 students from all over the world can live and learn together in the new hall of residence. Some of the rooms will be reserved for students from the US. Alongside accommodation pure and simple, the new building will also have larger rooms for lectures, seminars and other joint activities.

The estimated total cost of the new hall of residence will be in the neighbourhood of 2.6 million euro. The Studentenwerk will finance the remainder of the sum from its own resources and capital market loans.

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 21.12.2001


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