Construction Mogul Foots the Bill for New Notre Dame Architecture School Building

Longtime Notre Dame supporters Joyce and Matthew Walsh late last month gave the school $27 million for the construction of a new architecture building. Notre Dame will call the school the Walsh Family School of Architecture to commemorate the donors.

The university's architecture program, currently housed at Bond Hall, will relocate to the new structure upon its completion. Bond, according to Notre Dame School of Architecture Dean Michael Lykoudis, is "bursting at the seams… Every square inch is used over and over, double-booked."

Matthew Walsh received a BA in English from Notre Dame in 1972 and now runs Walsh Construction Co. with his brother. Their company employs 5,000 people and is the "15th largest contractor in the nation," according to Notre Dame's press release on the gift.

For the money his company has made in government construction contracts this year alone, Walsh could afford to build six new architecture schools. His company received a federal construction contract for work on a stretch of road between Evansville and Indianapolis. It also secured a $40 million state contract this year to work on I-465 and I-65 and a $160 million contract from the US Army Corps of Engineers to build a new barracks for cadets in West Point, New York.

The Walshes have financially supported Notre Dame since 1997. They gave smaller grants for the school's architecture library in 2009 and for a group of students to design and construct a school in Uganda in 2012. The Doings Weekly reports:

...Matthew Walsh has served the school as long-standing chairman of the School of Architecture Advisory Council and as chair of the Advisory Council Chair Leadership Group. Walsh is a life member of the board of trustees of St. Ignatius College Prep and a board member of Children's Memorial Hospital.

Beyond Notre Dame, other areas of Walshian philanthropic interest include arts and education, particularly of the Catholic persuasion, churches — also of the Catholic variety, I would assume — and children's services.

Matthew Walsh has also given significantly to St. Ignatius Prep, where he received his secondary education. Missing from the path of donations, however, is Loyola University, Chicago, where he would continue his education and receive his JD. Barring the discovery of any major antagonisms between Walsh and the law school, it could be a likely target for future money from the family.