University of Akron receives donation for outdoor area


The project will crate an ‘outdoor living room’ on the Akron campus.

AKRON — Long-time University of Akron benefactor Kathy Coleman has donated $1 million to create the Les and Kathy Coleman Commons, a unique green space on the campus.

Coleman Commons will be located directly behind Buchtel Hall, between the Student Union and the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

Coleman announced the $1 million pledge at The University of Akron Foundation annual meeting. She chairs the foundation’s Stewardship Committee.

The commons will include an open lawn amphitheater, terraces, a labyrinth, green spaces and a fountain in a nearly 4-acre area dotted and bordered by dozens of trees.

“I am very excited about this ‘outdoor living room’ project that will create a majestic front lawn for the university,” Coleman says. “In doing so, I am demonstrating my support for University President Dr. Luis Proenza’s leadership of this great institution.”

Prior to the $1 million gift from Kathy Coleman, she and her late husband, through personal and foundation gifts, have donated nearly $675,000 to the university during the past 25 years.

Coleman is the widow of Dr. Lester E. Coleman (’52), former chairman and CEO of The Lubrizol Corp., who died in 2000. The Colemans established and funded an Ohio Eminent Scholars Chair at the university, the Lester and Kathleen Coleman Graduate Fellowship in Chemistry, the John Franklin Coleman Memorial Scholarship in Chemistry and the Lester and Kathleen Coleman Chair in Chemistry.

Coleman previously worked at The Lubrizol Corp. and attended Hiram College, where she received a bachelor’s degree in social sciences. She later earned a master’s degree from Dartmouth College. Coleman is a member of the Hiram College Board of Trustees and a recipient of Hiram’s Garfield Society Award.

She has been involved in various Cleveland organizations, including the Cleveland Restoration Society, the Cleveland Music School Settlement, American Red Cross, the Junior League of Cleveland, Musical Theatre Education Programming, Cleveland International Piano Competition, Holden Arboretum and the Cleveland Orchestra’s Women’s Committee.

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