Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, has announced a $6 million challenge grant from philanthropist Tad Taube to retrofit and restore Ralston Hall, a national historical landmark.
The largest gift in the university's history challenges the school to raise the full $6 million in gifts and pledges during 2015. Built in 1868 as the summer home of financier William Ralston, the mansion had housed more than sixty faculty and staff offices and was the university's primary venue for musical performances, large meetings, and conferences until it was closed in April 2012 due to concerns about its vulnerability in an earthquake. The seismic retrofit is expected to cost $12 million of the estimated $20 million restoration price tag.
"I believe we owe it to ourselves and to future generations to save historical landmarks such as Ralston Hall, which is important architecturally and has played so central a role in the history of California," said Taube, chairman of Taube Philanthropies. "I am delighted to be able to help NDNU take the first step in restoring this building which has become so important to the university's operation and atmosphere. It is now up to the NDNU community to raise the additional $6 million that will allow the restoration to begin."