Why the Richard King Mellon Foundation gave $7.5 million to a Sustainable Campus

Chatham University president Esther L. Barazzone reportedly dreamed of turning the old Eden Hall Farms into a college campus that would become world-renown as a leader in sustainability and green technology. As the Eden Hall Campus broke ground this month, Ms. Barazzone's announced that her dreams are $7.5 million closer to coming true with a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Throughout his life, Richard King Mellon always had a love for both the great outdoors and Pittsburgh. A man with environmentally friendly ideas before his time, he led the charge in Pittsburgh of demanding Pennsylvania Railroad reduce its smoke emissions in the 1940s and 1950s. It seems his foundation has kept in line with Mellon's eco-friendly personality by awarding the largest grant to the Eden Hall Campus outside of the initial 388-acre land donation from Eden Hall Farms. (See Richard King Mellon Foundation: Grants for Conservation).

You won't find ivy-clad buildings or parking garages at Eden Hall. The 388-acre campus looks more like a Rockewellian farm than an institution of higher learning. Eden Hall Campus at Chatham University is "the first academic community in the world built from the ground up for sustainable development, living and learning."

Though the field labs, classrooms, and infrastructure development at Eden Hall's School of Sustainability and the Environment are to be completed by fall 2013, the dorms won't be finished until 2015. Upon completion, the Eden Hall Campus is expected to serve an estimated 1,000 students, who will be immersed in the latest techniques in environmental sustainability, eco-friendly energy, and water management practices. (Read director of conservation, Scott Izzo's IP profile).