Sonoma State University gets $3M gift for wine center project

[caption id="attachment_94845" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Sonoma State University’s Wine Spectator Learning Center is set to be a state-of-the-art facility with classrooms and outdoor space to teach more than 300, venues for public seminars and events, and technology to reach the world. (credit: TLCD Architecture)[/caption]

ROHNERT PARK -- Sonoma State University on Monday said it received a $3 million donation from Wine Spectator Editor and Publisher Marvin Shanken that puts funding for the planned Wine Business Institute building at the half-way point for construction to start as anticipated next year.

The gift from Mr. Shanken's Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation would convert the nearly 15,000-square-foot former University Commons student center on campus into a new home for the 16-year-old wine undergraduate, graduate and continuing-education program. The building will be renamed the Wine Spectator Learning Center.

"Sonoma State University has taken a leadership position in wine business education, a specialized but important field that deserves support," Mr. Shanken said in a statement. "The potential benefits to the wine industry are enormous. We are pleased to be able to help the university and their students achieve their goals."

This latest gift to the building project also is the largest ever for the 28-year-old School of Business and Economics, of which the institute is a part, according to the university. In January, the institution said Gary Heck, owner of Korbel and other wine brands, gave $1 million toward the project.

A couple of more unspecified gifts are in the works, SSU spokeswoman Annemarie Brown said.

[caption id="attachment_94846" align="alignleft" width="300"] The design will utilize modern learning and working practices to inspire collaboration for students and visitors. The center's Student Commons will have a student hub, wine entrepreneurship laboratory, outdoor study terrace and wine business research library. (credit: TLCD Architecture)[/caption]

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