Alumni Gift Supports CAAS Lounge Renovation

The first-floor lounge of the Center for African American Studies will be renovated thanks to a $50,000 gift from Michelle ’84 and Kurt ’87 Lyn P’12 of Houston, Texas.

Their gift honors the 40th anniversary of the establishment of CAAS and is intended to make the lounge a more attractive venue for the entire campus community.

Ashraf Rushdy, professor and chair of the African American Studies Program, professor of English, expressed deep gratitude to the Lyn family for their generosity.

“The money will be used to make the lounge even more welcoming and attractive, and that much more of a productive a space for classes, lectures and cultural events,” Rushdy says. “We look forward to welcoming the Lyn family back to Wesleyan and showing them the fruits of their thoughtful gift.”

The lounge is currently used as a classroom space for certain African American studies courses, and also a space where meetings are held, lectures given, and social events hosted by a wide range of departments and programs across the campus. In April, the lounge was used as a venue for the celebration of the Vanguard Class of 1969, many of whom returned to campus to commemorate the 40th anniversary of African American Studies at Wesleyan.

The renovation will entail refinishing wood floors, adding area rugs, replacing existing furniture with a conference-style table and adding mobile furniture for flexibility. The work is scheduled to begin in May and be completed in time for the beginning of the 2010-2011 academic year.

Michelle majored in biology and psychology at Wesleyan and received her MD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is an associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and Chief of Child Protection/Section of Emergency Medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital as well as a Wesleyan trustee. Kurt was a government major at Wesleyan, graduated from Hofstra University Law School and is currently the managing partner at the firm Lam, Lyn, & Philip in Houston. The Lyns also support the Unconventional Wisdom: Legacies of Success program at Wesleyan, which was designed to facilitate interactions between alumni and students of color.