James and Carmen Campbell pledge lead gift to renovate U of M’s world-renowned Institute of Child Development

The University of Minnesota has announced an $8 million lead gift, made by James R. and Carmen D. Campbell, to fund the extensive renovation and modernization of the century-old building that houses the globally celebrated Institute of Child Development on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus. The institute is home to the #1 developmental psychology program in the nation.

“Minnesota leaders, policymakers and nonprofits all understand early childhood education is the pathway to opportunity. We believe there’s nothing more important than investing in children’s development during these critical early years,” said Carmen Campbell, a 1964 graduate of the University’s College of Education and Human Development. “Those first years shape a child’s chances for success in school and in life. The Institute of Child Development solves the real-world challenges facing children during this formative time and educates the teachers who work with kids in communities and bring their knowledge to benefit families in Minnesota, and around the world.”

The Campbells’ gift is the latest and the largest in a private fundraising campaign to generate a portion of the total needed to bring the home for the University’s most-celebrated child development programs in line with modern standards. In addition to private fundraising efforts, the University’s Board of Regents approved accelerating plans to include the new home for the Institute of Child Development (ICD) in the state’s bonding process. 

The University has made funding for the updated ICD facility its top priority project in its 2019 legislative capital request. Like many higher education bonding projects, the $42 million funding plan commits the University to invest one-third of the total cost ($14 million) and asks the state to invest the remaining amount ($28 million).

The plan to modernize the ICD building calls for a sweeping renovation and expansion of the historic East Bank building, originally constructed in 1903. The new ICD building would blend historic elements of the facade and interior of the ninth oldest, active building on the Twin Cities campus with contemporary teaching spaces, cutting-edge research facilities and more energy-efficient features.

“From birth through pre-school, when we—as a society—invest $1 in a child, it saves us more than $16 in future costs,” said Jim Campbell, a 1964 graduate of the University’s Carlson School of Management. “Carmen and I couldn’t think of a better investment in the future of our state and our world. We are so pleased that others in our community have also stepped up with their commitments and we look forward to working with state leaders as they consider this critical investment in our children.”

As graduates of the University of Minnesota, the Campbells have been generous volunteers and supporters of their alma mater, having now invested countless hours and more than $16 million in the University. Their passion for education drives that support. Both were raised in Byron, Minn., by mothers who were teachers. They both attended rural schools with small class sizes. They credit those experiences, along with their collegiate experience at Minnesota, with their success.

“We are deeply grateful to the Campbells for their lead gift for this important project, and for all the support they have given the University over the years,” said Jean K. Quam, PhD and dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “The Institute of Child Development is the top program of its kind in the country, and their gift jump-starts our new building project. The new building will allow us to better support our students and faculty who are preparing tomorrow’s early childhood teachers and our researchers who are uncovering the mysteries of human development from infancy through young adulthood.”

About the College of Education and Human Development
The University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) strives to teach, advance research and engage with the community to increase opportunities for all individuals. As the third largest college on the Twin Cities campus, CEHD research and specialties focus on a range of challenges, including: educational equity, teaching and learning innovations, children’s mental health and development, family resilience, and healthy aging. Learn more at cehd.umn.edu.

About the Institute of Child Development
The University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development is dedicated to scholarship, teaching and outreach devoted to the understanding and fostering of child development. Founded in 1925 and now part of the College of Education and Human Development, the Institute is one of the oldest departments studying children’s development in the United States. Learn more at icd.umn.edu.