Date October 19, 2022
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In recognition of a generous gift, Brown University names the William and Ami Danoff Residence Hall

One of two buildings under construction on Brook Street set to open in 2023, the Danoff Residence Hall’s new name comes in recognition of a gift from Ami Kuan Danoff and William Danoff.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University will name a state-of-the-art, under-construction residence hall the William and Ami Danoff Residence Hall in recognition of a generous gift from William Danoff and Ami Kuan Danoff.

The building is one of two residence halls in a project at the southern end of Brown’s campus on Brook Street, between Charlesfield and Power streets, set to open in Fall 2023. The project is designed to strengthen the undergraduate residential experience as a new on-campus home for sophomores, juniors and seniors, while also alleviating the impact that the demand for off-campus rental units has upon local neighborhoods in Providence.

The Danoffs’ gift is providing crucial support for the construction of the new residence hall. According to Vice President for Campus Life Eric Estes, the buildings will feature suite-style living that offers single bedrooms with a shared bathroom and living room — and communal kitchens, shared spaces and amenities on each floor that will draw students together and enable concentric circles of community and connection.

“These new residence halls will create opportunities for Brown students to engage with their peers, who will challenge and expand their understanding of themselves and others,” Estes said. “This important investment marks a critical step forward in Brown’s residential portfolio, aligns form and function to create a transformative environment, and creates a residential experience that supports upper-division students’ desire for greater independence within a community that simultaneously promotes interaction and engagement.”

Construction has been underway since late 2021 on the newly named Danoff Residence Hall, a five-story, 61,000-square-foot brick, terra cotta and wood residence hall sited at 259 Brook St. The residence hall, which is being built on the east side of Brook Street, and its “sister” structure at 250 Brook St., will be located adjacent to the University’s Vartan Gregorian Quad. The new residence hall project was mindfully designed, with feedback from a robust community engagement process, to integrate into the fabric of the local neighborhood while welcoming community members with outdoor seating, accessible green spaces and a retail space in the ground level of the 64,000-square-foot residence hall at 250 Brook St.

“ This important investment marks a critical step forward in Brown’s residential portfolio and creates a residential experience that supports upper-division students’ desire for greater independence. ”

Eric Estes Vice President for Campus Life

Estes noted that the Danoff Residence Hall and its companion building at 250 Brook St. together will add 351 undergraduate student beds on campus, which will broaden access to a vibrant residential experience for more students and foster a sense of belonging. It will also make progress toward the University’s goal of housing 80% of its undergraduate students in residence halls — a goal that the Danoffs were eager to support, particularly by helping to meet the needs and living preferences of older undergraduates as they prepare for life beyond Brown.

“We believe very strongly in the importance of residential life and the role it plays in community and campus life,” Ami Kuan Danoff said. “To be able to further that is a real honor for us.”

“The dorms are where a lot of the living takes place — and a lot of the learning and experiences, too,” William Danoff said. “We’re all influenced by the environment in which we live, work and study, so we’re really delighted that we can make an impact.”

According to Estes, the new Brook Street residence hall project represents an important milestone in Brown’s commitment to a dynamic residential experience as core to the undergraduate experience. For the first time in 30 years, the University welcomed undergraduates into a new residence hall when it opened Sternlicht Commons and Brown University Health and Wellness Center in Fall 2021. In conjunction with the Brook Street project, the 513 new beds created by the two residential projects substantially reduce the number of Brown undergraduates living off campus.

In addition to the impact the Danoff Residence Hall will have on the student experience, the Danoffs said they were enthusiastic to support the University’s commitment to the greater Providence and Rhode Island community — brought to life in this project both by creating new housing to reduce off-campus demand and by partnering with the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council and the Building Futures apprenticeship program for construction labor.

“We very much admire the University’s mission and impact on the Brown community and also on the Providence community and beyond,” Ami Kuan Danoff said.

Ami Kuan Danoff is the co-founder and CFO of the Women’s Foundation of Boston, a philanthropic organization that empowers women and girls through the creation and funding of high-impact leadership and economic programs in partnership with nonprofits devoted to serving women and girls. William Danoff, who has led a long and successful career in finance, is a vice president and fund manager with Fidelity Investments. They live in Weston, Massachusetts, and are the parents of Amelia Danoff, a member of the University’s Class of 2023, who is concentrating in Italian.

The Danoffs have been longtime leaders, board members and philanthropic supporters of their alma mater Harvard College and of independent schools and higher education institutions that have educated and molded their three children, William Danoff said. They are also driven by the power of education and science to improve lives and create economic opportunity, and they have supported a wide range of community organizations in Greater Boston, as well as science and research initiatives such as the Harvard Quantum Initiative.

“We’re working together to make a better Brown, a better neighborhood, a better future and a better state,” William Danoff said during a July 11 topping-off ceremony for the Brown residence hall project. “One of the lessons that I’ve learned over time is this notion of ‘living is giving and giving is living.’ Life is more meaningful when you share it, when you work together.”

We very much admire the University’s mission and impact on the Brown community and also on the Providence community and beyond.

Ami Kuan Danoff, pictured with her husband William
Portrait of Ami and William Danoff

The residence hall’s name will be set into the brick wall, adjacent to the main entrance at 259 Brook St., on a solid bronze plaque with a single line of text in commemoration of the Danoffs’ generosity.

Brown Senior Vice President for Advancement Sergio Gonzalez said the Danoffs’ gift toward Brown’s new residence hall represents more than a commitment to enhanced campus housing — it’s also an example of the philanthropy from Brown parents that supports the University’s overall scholarship, innovation and mission.

“The Danoffs are helping Brown to enhance and transform the residential experience for our students, which is so crucial to their academic success,” Gonzalez said. “This truly advances the University’s strategic priorities. Their support is another example of the exceptional generosity and philanthropic spirit of Brown parents.”