Salisbury University announced Thursday that an Eastern Shore philanthropy is giving the school $8 million to help build a new academic commons, including a library.

The gift from the Guerrieri Family Foundation honors Patricia R. Guerrieri, an alumna of the public university in Maryland who died in May 2010. It is one of the largest donations in the school’s history.

“The Guerrieri family has been a longtime friend of Salisbury University,” university President Janet Dudley-Eshbach said in a statement. “I was fortunate to have met Patti and to have shared my dreams for the University with her. I think she would approve of the impact this new center of learning will have on our students, on the university and on the greater community.”

The academic commons, a 234,000 square-feet building estimated to cost $115.8 million, will be the largest construction project ever for the 8,600-student university in Wicomico County. It will be named for Guerrieri and is scheduled to open in 2016.