Dr. Peter and Charlene Kesling donate $1 million toward new PNC complex; largest gift ever to the Westville campus

PNCNew Building image (2)

A rendering of PNC’s Student Services and Activities Complex

(CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE)

Purdue North Central has received a historic donation toward its planned Student Services and Activities Complex, receiving $1

Charlene and Dr. Peter Kesling

Charlene and Dr. Peter Kesling

million from Dr. Peter and Charlene Kesling of LaPorte.

The Keslings’ donation is the largest cash gift that PNC has ever received.

“We are thrilled that the Keslings have chosen to support PNC with this significant gift,” said PNC Chancellor James B. Dworkin. “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

The late Dr. H.D. Kesling, for whom the new gymnasium will be named.

The late Dr. H.D. Kesling, for whom the new gymnasium will be named.

commitment to PNC and our community.”

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

“We are excited to be supporting the new Purdue North Central Student Services and Activities Complex and naming the H.D. Kesling Gymnasium in honor of my father,” said Dr. Kesling.

“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.”

Dr. H.D. Kesling was an outstanding high school basketball player in Logansport, IN. He was a member of a team that made it to the 1918-19 state quarterfinals.

“When recounting those days, he always added the fact that he was not a good student and the only reason he buckled down and raised his grades was so that he could be eligible to play,” Dr. Peter Kesling recalled.

“Therefore, if it wasn’t for basketball, he might have stayed down on the farm and never had the opportunity to attend college. 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 Kesling family is well known for its entrepreneurial success as well as for its philanthropy.

“The Keslings are committed to making our community a better place to live,” said Dworkin. “Their generosity has benefited countless thousands of people through the years. In making this donation, we are assured that PNC students for generations to come will have the benefit of enjoying the H.D. Kesling Gymnasium.”

H.D. Kesling (3rd from left, 2nd row) was a member of the 1918-19 Logansport basketball team. In those days, H.D. "Harold" was called "Bill" by family and friends.(Photo courtesy of Thelma Conrad, curator of the Cass County Historical Society)

H.D. Kesling (3rd from left, 2nd row) was a member of the 1918-19 Logansport basketball team. In those days, H.D. “Harold” was called “Bill” by family and friends.(Photo courtesy of Thelma Conrad, curator of the Cass County Historical Society)

As planned, the Student Services and Activities Complex carries a cost of $34.7 million. The state will provide $24.7 million, or approximately 70 percent of the debt service. Student activities fees will generate $6.3 million and cover another 20 percent of the project. PNC fundraising will bring in the remaining $3.7 million.

Dworkin said the local fundraising effort has achieved more than 80 percent of its goal and donations of all amounts are welcomed. Many building naming rights remain available as well.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place in October 2014 and the tentative completion date is October 2016.

Anyone who would like to make a donation may contact Dworkin at jdworkin@pnc.edu or Melissa Westphal-Benefiel, PNC director of development, at mwestpha@pnc.edu.

5 Responses to “Dr. Peter and Charlene Kesling donate $1 million toward new PNC complex; largest gift ever to the Westville campus”

  1. cynthia dorman

    Dec 04. 2013

    such a wonderful gift from such wonderful people I worked for them right out of high school and we still keep in touch love to the whole family Cynthia

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  2. Andrew J. SerafinDDS

    Dec 04. 2013

    What a wonderful Christmas Present for Purdue North Central.
    The Kesling family through Dr. H.D and now Dr. Peter and Charlene have been so generous to the city of LaPorte and LaPorte County, and now PNC. PNC is quite fortunate to have them as neighbors. Thanks Pete and Charlene and Merry Christmas to both of you as well.
    AJ Serafin DDS

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  3. Nexxt

    Dec 06. 2013

    THAK YOU – Dr. Peter and Charlene Kesling , THANK YOU !!!!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Richard 'Mike' Wolcott

    Dec 28. 2013

    What a wonderful pre -Christmas gift for PNC. As a cousin to my
    Hoosier cousin, Charlene, and Pete , a special thank you for your gift the student services building. Dr. Kesling was our orthodontist for both twin brother Roger ‘Tony’ and me – 1950-52..vintage ‘ braces.’
    i did not know he was a member of the Logansport basketball team
    that went to state quarterfinals…a true ‘Basketball Hoosier.’

    Reply to this comment
  5. Kathy J. Morris

    Jan 05. 2014

    Dr. Kesling was my orthodondist in the 60s. I remember his office was downtown in a charming stone building before he and Dr. Rocky developed the beautiful, modern orthodontic center on 421. Dr. Kesling was brilliant and ahead of his time. He has always been a constant positive memory for me because of the way he corrected my teeth. This is certainly a worthy tribute honoring him.

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