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William & Mary Hall renamed in honor of university benefactors

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Posted at 11:47 AM, Sep 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-26 11:47:54-04
William & Mary Hall, now named the Kaplan Arena (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)

William & Mary Hall, now named the Kaplan Arena (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – William & Mary Hall has been renamed to honor two of the university’s most generous benefactors, Jane Thompson Kaplan and Jim Kaplan.

The Board of Visitors approved a measure to change the building’s name to Kaplan Arena. The arena holds hundreds of sporting events, concerts and ceremonies every year.

“From scholarships to the basketball program, the Muscarelle Museum of Art and beyond, the Tribe community has benefited tremendously from the outpouring of support from the Kaplans over the years,” said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. “It is quite fitting that the entire hall, which houses the 8,600-seat Kaplan Arena, now fully becomes their namesake. Jane and Jim’s generosity is truly making a difference, and we are most grateful.”

According to the university, the Kaplans are major supporters of the Tribe’s basketball team on and off the court. For several years, the couple has gifted student athletes with scholarships. The Kaplans recently gave a scholarship during the For the Bold campaign that provided full financial support for generations of men’s basketball players.

For Jim Kaplan, the donation seems to have a special meaning. He received a full scholarship in the 1950s to play basketball for the Tribe. He also met his wife while attending the university.

“Most everything that I have today — my wonderful family, my knowledge, my career — stems from this place,” he said. “I cannot think of a better reason to give back to the university that made me who I am today.”

The Kaplans’ support for the university doesn’t just stop at sports. The couple is also dedicating a significant portion of their donation to the Muscarelle Museum of Art expansion project, which is also part of the For the Bold campaign. A new wing of the museum will be named in their honor.

“The Kaplans are the model of alumni giving and participation. Jim and Jane’s gift will transform one of the foundational origins of the College, the arts, and enable the Muscarelle to expand its world-class exhibitions and programs,” added Aaron DeGroft, director of the Muscarelle Museum of Art.

Together, the Kaplans have served on nearly 10 different boards, committees and foundations at William & Mary over the last 15 years.