Local orthodontist gives PNC $1 million

2013-12-04T19:48:00Z 2013-12-05T01:52:04Z Local orthodontist gives PNC $1 millionCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

WESTVILLE | A local orthodontist has donated $1 million to Purdue University North Central in support of its new Student Services and Activities Complex building, slated to begin construction next fall.

Dr. Peter Kesling and his wife, Charlene, donated the single, largest cash donation ever made to the regional campus.

PNC Chancellor James Dworkin said the university is "thrilled" that the Keslings have chosen to support PNC with this significant donation. 

"This is a wonderful gift. We are very thankful," Dworkin said. "This gift is a turning point for Purdue North Central. The Kesling name will be a permanent part of the building and will serve as a daily reminder to our students, staff, faculty and guests of the Keslings' support and their commitment to PNC and our community."

With the gift, the Keslings have the naming rights to the SSAC gymnasium. The H.D. Kesling Gymnasium will be named in honor of  Kesling's father.

Peter Kesling said his family, known for its entrepreneurial success and philanthropy, is excited to be supporting the new Purdue North Central Student Services and Activities Complex and naming the H.D. Kesling Gymnasium in honor of his father.

"He, among other things, had the foresight in 1959 to develop the Orthodontic center in a cornfield at the interchange of the Indiana Toll Road and U.S. 421. PNC has been our good neighbor across U.S. 421 since 1967. It has been a great pleasure watching it grow during the past 46 years," Kesling said.

Kesling explained that his father was an outstanding high school basketball player in Logansport and he was a member of a team that made it to the 1918-19 state quarterfinals. Kesling said it was basketball that made his his father buckle down and study to become a better student so he could play the game.

"If it wasn't for basketball, he might have stayed down on the farm and never had the opportunity to attend college," Kesling said. "However, he continued his excellent study habits, graduated from Loyola Dental School and in 1924 began practicing dentistry in LaPorte. This is why all of the Kesling family will be proud to have his name associated with the new gymnasium. His story may also serve to inspire future students during their academic years."

The cost of the new building is $34.7 million. The state will provide $24.7 million, or approximately 70 percent of the cost. Student activities fees will generate $6.3 million and cover another 20 percent of the project. PNC fund raising will bring in the remaining $3.7 million.

Dworkin said the donation takes them over the $3 million mark, and they may reach their goal before the end of the year. 

Dworkin said the 100,000 square-foot building also will house a fitness area and basketball courts for intramural sports. It also will have a great hall, a reception area and the university will be able to host its own graduation ceremony.

"This is going to help us in recruiting and graduating students," Dworkin said. "I am so thankful to Dr. Kesling and his family. He understands the importance of education and what this gift means to PNC and the mission we are trying to accomplish here."

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