The University of Maryland. (Jeffrey Porter/ For The Washington Post)

The gift from U-Md. graduate Edward St. John will go toward construction of a “signature building,” destined to be “one of the most popular and heavily used on campus,” university president Wallace D. Loh said in the statement.

Maryland’s legislature must approve additional state funding before the project can go forward. Approval is not certain, but legislatures typically do tend to agree to match grants.

The building is slated for completion in 2016.

The proposed $63 million center, to be named for St. John, would be the first building at the College Park campus in 50 years “dedicated solely to classroom use and the fundamental teaching and learning enterprise at the university,” the release states. It would serve up to 10,000 students daily, a number representing more than one-third of the undergraduate student population.

University leaders have lobbied for a structure of this scale for decades. It would replace “current lecture halls fashioned from a Cold War-era rifle range,” the release says.

St. John is a 1961 U-Md. graduate with an engineering degree. He would go on to start St. John Properties, a real estate development company.

U-Md. is presently operating with a classroom deficit estimated at 70,000 square feet, according to state calculations. The new facility would be 47,900 square feet and sit on a central location, the current site of Holzapel Hall on McKeldin Mall. Holzapel’s facade would be preserved.

This story has been updated.