Matthew and Joyce Walsh’s recent gift to the University of Notre Dame is about more than a new building for its School of Architecture — it’s about building the future.
“That’s our mission at the School of Architecture,” Matthew Walsh said. “Training young men and women to be not only good architects, but leaders in their communities.”
The longtime Burr Ridge residents recently donated $27 million to the school, from which Matthew Walsh, his daughter, son and son-in-law all have earned degrees. While the donation is not Walsh’s first gift to Notre Dame, it is the largest.
The 60,000-square-foot building, which will be named in Walsh’s honor, will be located on the south end of the Notre Dame campus, east of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. It will provide the space necessary to accommodate the needs of a school that is considered the nation’s leading institution for the study of classical architecture and traditional urbanism. It also will provide room for two new graduate programs in historic preservation and real estate development.
“Their generosity will enable our faculty and students to better conduct research and teach, create and share designs, and build community as they shape national and international conversations about the function and future of architecture,” said Thomas G. Burish, the university’s provost.
In addition to monetary gifts, Matthew Walsh has served the school as long-standing chairman of the School of Architecture Advisory Council and as chair of the Advisory Council Chair Leadership Group. Walsh is a life member of the board of trustees of St. Ignatius College Prep and a board member of Children’s Memorial Hospital. He and Joyce also support the arts, education, Catholic churches and schools, and social and children’s services through the Walsh Foundation.
“Joyce and I have been blessed in our lives,” Walsh said. “Joyce and I are grateful to be able to provide this gift, which we feel will help ensure the continued success of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture, its faculty and students.”
Walsh graduated from Notre Dame in 1968 with a degree in English. After earning his law degree from Loyola University in 1972, he joined the family business. Walsh Construction is the 15th largest contractor in the nation and employs more than 5,000 engineers and skilled tradesmen. Walsh and his brother Daniel are co-chairmen of the company, which was founded by the Walsh family in 1898.
That is the same year that Notre Dame opened its School of Architecture, becoming the first American Catholic college or university to have such a program.