Lafayette College receives one of its largest gift in its history

Lafayette College in Easton on Monday received one of the largest gifts in its history - $27.9 million - to support science, technology and innovation, including a new interdisciplinary science building.

The gift from Kent Rockwell, a member of the board of trustees and a 1966 Lafayette graduate, comes less than three months after the college’s first female president, Alison R. Byerly, took the helm. But the gift was in the works before Byerly's arrival, a university spokewoman said.

Lafayette, a 2,400-student college, is known for its blend of liberal arts and engineering programs.

“We are immensely grateful for this extraordinary and historic gift,” Byerly said in a prepared statement. “Lafayette is committed to becoming a leader in offering innovative educational programs in fields at the intersection of the life sciences, technology, and engineering. Kent Rockwell's vision and generosity will enable us to strengthen our efforts in this area significantly.”

Rockwell is chairman and CEO of Rockwell Venture Capital, Inc. in Pittsburgh, which invests in technology-based engineering products and services.