(Posted October 27, 2023)

Henry Gibbel, a 1957 alumnus of Juniata College, and his wife Joanie Gibbelhave provided $1 million to Juniata College for the renovation of South Hall, which will be renamed in their honor. The Gibbels have challenged Juniata alumni and supporters to match their donation, with the goal of raising an additional $1 million to improve the living and learning environment for Juniata College students. 

Henry Gibbel expressed his desire to see the residence halls renovated to create a more comfortable experience for students, as he recalled how much living and learning on campus shaped his time at Juniata. “I’ve been so blessed and had the joy in life to go to Juniata College,” he said. As Joanie Gibbelexplained, “Your dorm room is your home away from home. College is a time to grow up, learn, and make friends.”  

South Hall, located at the heart of the campus on the Quad, houses upperclass students. Previously, Juniata renovated and renamed North Hall to Sunderland Hall with support from former alumnus and fellow trustee Klare Sunderland ’56, who was Mr. Gibbel’s best friend and college classmate. These two families, who believe in the lifelong benefit of a Juniata education, will now anchor the residence halls on campus. "My longest friends are my Juniata College friends,” explained Mr. Gibbel. “I was there 70 years ago. As a graduate, I am still interested in the life of the college day in and day out.”  

“We are so grateful for Henry and Joanie’s willingness to step up and support such an important and meaningful renovation project,” said James Troha, president of Juniata. “We are honored to be able to rename South Residence Hall after such a wonderful and distinguished family.” 

South Hall also has a rich athletic history, serving as home to coaching offices for the baseball, field hockey, track and field, softball, and football teams. A passionate athletics fan, Mr. Gibbel has maintained strong and unwavering support for Juniata athletics, having served as the student manager of the 1956 Juniata football team during their Tangerine Bowl appearance. He also continued to attend every football game for 20 straight years. 

The Gibbels gift will have a significant impact on student success by improving residential living and supporting athletic teams. “What happens inside and outside the classroom are intrinsically linked. Students who feel safe, supported, and comfortable in their living and learning spaces will have enhanced educational outcomes,” said Matthew Damschroder, vice president for student life and dean of students.  

The Gibbels’ commitment to Juniata College is a family tradition, extending across multiple generations. Mr. Gibbel’s grandfather graduated in 1888, followed by his parents who met as undergraduates. Mr. Gibbel’s four siblings are also proud alumni, along with his son, grandson, and granddaughter. 

“The Gibbel family means so much to Juniata and our athletic community. I cannot express my gratitude enough for their continued support for our students and student-athletes,” said Nikki Ayers, athletic director. “I am excited to see what comes next with South Hall and happy that athletics will be a part of this project.” 

To learn more about how you can support the Gibbels’ challenge, contact Jim Watt, vice president for advancement and new strategic initiatives, at 814-641-3110 or wattj@juniata.edu

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.