Large donations boost SAS coffers

Recent donations will go to facilities, research, and the school's financial aid endowment

The Daily Pennsylvanian
February 17, 1998

Beset by budgetary problems and a small endowment, the School of Arts and Sciences has tried to boost its funds for financial aid, new buildings and programs through increased fund-raising. .

And as SAS Dean Samuel Preston announced yesterday, recent efforts halve met with some success. A number of new donations will be used to improve facilities, increase the school's endowment and provide undergraduates with increased research opportunities on campus..

The largest single donation was an anonymous contribution of $3 million for "historical studies." Vice President for Development Virginia Clark said that due to the donor's wishes, she could not be more specific as to where the money will be directed.

Jean-Marie Kneeley, the SAS vice-dean for external affairs, added that she hopes to be able to identify the benefactor later in the semester.

SAS was projected to end fiscal year 1997 with a $1 million budget deficit.

The second-largest donation to fall into SAS's coffers recently was a $1.5 million gift from Irwin and Lena Pincus, both of whom graduated from the College in the 1930s.

Though final numbers have not been set, Kneeley expects about $1.2 million of the donation to go toward undergraduate financial aid, with the remainder allocated to undergraduate research for Biology and Biological Basis of Behavior majors.

The portion of the comes in the wake of a larger University-wide initiative to increase the raise money toward increasing the schools financial aid endowment according to Clark

Spearheaded by a $6 million gift from University Board of Trustees Chairperson Roy Vagelos and his wife Diana - part of a larger $10 million contribution to the University - the endowment drive has raised more than $35 million in new money over the last 2 1/2 years, she said.

University Trustee Paul Kelly who previously gave $1.1 million to renovate the Kelly Writers House at 3805 Locust Walk - has contributed another $1 million in matching funds for the financial aid initiative.

Rather than giving the $1 million outright, Kelly will match every $2 raised toward the endowment with $1 of his own money, up to the $1 million total.

Since the University has already raised $1.1 million, Kelly has given $550,000, but Clark said the University has also received commitments for an additional $900,000, which will entitle Penn to the remaining $450,000 Kelly pledged.

Of the $900,000, the largest single donation will come from Bernard and Jay Axelrod - father-and-son University graduates - who lead the pack of "12 or 13 donors" with a $250,000 donation.

A large six-figure donation was also made by Vice Provost for Research Ralph Amado to support the construction of a new concert hall within Irvine Auditorium, which is currently being renovated. The exact amount of the gift was not publicized, according to the donor's wishes.