The University of Pennsylvania has announced a $50 million gift from alumnus P. Roy Vagelos ('50) and his wife, Diana, in support of a new science center.
The largest gift ever to Penn's School of Arts and Sciences will fund a new facility for the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, bringing together researchers from the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to work on scientific and technological problems related to energy. The facility also will house the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER), an undergraduate dual-degree program run jointly by the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering. The new center will encourage scientists and engineers to engage in cross-disciplinary work and groom undergrads, graduate students, and postdocs to be future leaders in their fields. In recognition of the gift, the building will be named for the Vageloses.
In addition to gifts to establish the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology in 2016 and VIPER in 2011, the Vageloses have supported several other science-related programs, undergraduate scholarships, and endowed professorships at Penn. Roy Vagelos, who graduated from Penn with a degree in chemistry before earning a medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons — which is now named for the couple — is the retired chair and CEO of Merck & Co. and currently serves as board chair of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. He served as Penn's board chair from 1995 to 1999 and is a former member of the Penn Arts & Sciences board and the founding chair of the Committee for Undergraduate Financial Aid. Diana T. Vagelos is a former board member of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
"Energy research has been important to me and to Diana for years," said Vagelos. "We've seen students and faculty doing extraordinary work and our hope is that this new building will provide the home and resources that this effort needs to create solutions."
"Roy and Diana are extraordinarily strong, prescient, and generous supporters of Penn's highest priorities," said Amy Gutmann, the university's president. "Sustainable energy solutions are among our nation's most pressing needs....We know that Penn's distinctively interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to energy solutions provides the path to progress. I am deeply grateful for Roy and Diana's longtime partnership and this exceptional support of our stellar researchers in energy science."