CGU receives $14 million gift for purchase of Huntley Bookstore to house health research center

Claremont Graduate University receives a gift of $14 million from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to purchase the Huntley Bookstore. (Mabel Lui • The Student Life)

Claremont Graduate University received a gift of $14 million — among the largest in its 95-year history — from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to purchase the Huntley Bookstore.

The bookstore will be the new home of the Yuhaaviatam Center for Health Studies, a multidisciplinary health research center to serve vulnerable populations in the Inland Empire and Indian Country. 

The university agreed to purchase the building from its current owner, The Claremont Colleges Services, and will finalize the financial transaction in the spring, according to CGU spokesperson Nick Owchar.

The 23,000-square-foot bookstore has served as 5C students’ prime textbook provider since its establishment in 1969. The bookstore will be relocated, though TCCS has not yet determined its new location, TCCS said in a statement provided by Owchar. In the meantime, TCCS aims to continue the bookstore’s operations “without interruption.”

“TCCS is continuing to evaluate the potential options for the new location of the Huntley Bookstore. We continue to work with CGU on the final transfer of the property and announcing future plans for the bookstore,” the statement said.

The Yuhaaviatam Center will provide opportunities for “discovery and collaboration” between CGU researchers, scientists and outside partners, according to CGU’s website. It will focus on solving challenges that are prevalent in underserved, vulnerable communities, particularly those in the Inland Empire and the greater Los Angeles area.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how a major crisis affects communities on many levels — epidemiological, clinical, policy-making, management, economic, social, psychological,” CGU President Len Jessup said. “That is why our center will serve as an innovative research hub that brings together faculty and students from all of our schools and divisions with outside partners to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

The Yuhaaviatam Center will house CGU’s School of Community and Global Health as its anchor tenant once renovations are complete in late 2021, according to CGU’s website.

The building will also serve as a hub for tribal community governance. It will be the home of CGU’s Tribal Administration Program, a partnership between CGU and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians established in 2006 that provides tribal governance training. It will also house “an envisioned tribal community governance and jurisdiction center” centered on indigenous health and well-being.

According to San Manuel Tribal Chair Ken Ramirez, the $14 million gift is part of the tribe’s tradition of supporting neighboring communities.

“For generations, low-income communities and underserved populations have needed quality health care,” Ramirez said in CGU’s announcement of the gift. “Our gift is an investment in future healthier communities.”

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