William A. and L. Maud Kimbel - Coastal Carolina University
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William A. and L. Maud Kimbel

William A. and L. Maud Kimbel were husband and wife and their names are both tied to their philanthropic endeavors across the campus. William Kimbel was born in New York City in 1888. L. Maud Kimbel was born in Boston in 1895.

William Kimbel earned a bachelor of science degree in architecture from Columbia University in 1909 and studied architecture in Europe. For 19 years, he was the owner of A. Kimbel & Son, an architecture, decorative contractor and manufacturer in New York City. He served in both world wars as an intelligence officer. He was also a close friend of President Eisenhower. After the wars, he was appointed by President Eisenhower to serve as a U.S. delegate and head of the U.S. Delegation to the Economic Conferences for Europe for two years. Following that, he was appointed advisor to the U.S. Delegation to conferences of Educational, Social, and Cultural Organization in Geneva. He served on the board of several hospitals and educational institutions, including the Coastal Educational Foundation of which he was president in 1965.

The Kimbels generously supported Coastal Carolina in a number of ways, as follow:

With an idea for a distinctive campus feature and a gift from William and L. Maud Kimbel, the Atheneum was completed in 1966. The $16,500 structure was constructed on the patio of the then newly-completed Student Union.

When the (1971) bids for Williams-Brice came in $100,000 over budget the Kimbel family stepped up to cover the shortfall. In turn, the gym would be named Kimbel Gymnasium in their honor. Kimbel Gymnasium was dedicated in November 1972 by the legendary Frank McGuire and the University of South Carolina basketball team. Kimbel Arena served as the home to 10 Big South Championship teams.

When Coastal became a four-year institution in 1975, the architectural firm of James, DuRant, James and Matthews was hired to design the new Kimbel Library and the Dargan Company constructed the $2 million project beginning in 1976. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the library was held Nov. 15, 1977.

They established the William A. and L. Maud Kimbel Scholarship.

Built in 1981, with a graceful Georgian design of columns and colonnades, the $3.1 million Wheelwright Auditorium was funded almost entirely by private donations from local residents and businesses, including a gift of more than $1 million from the Kimbels' estate. The auditorium was named for Mrs. Kimbel's maternal grandfather, John Wheelwright, who was involved in the cotton trade in South Carolina in the early 1900s.

The Kimbel Distinguished Lecture Series was funded by a $50,000 endowment in 1983, also through the Kimbels' estate.

William Kimbel died Dec. 20, 1980 and L. Maud Kimbel died April 29, 1982.

The Kimbels were posthumously named honorary founders of Coastal Carolina University in 1990.