Record Gift from Roy and Diana Vagelos to Create New Energy Science and Technology Building

P. Roy Vagelos, C’50, PAR’90, HON’99, and Diana T. Vagelos, PAR’90, have made a gift of $50 million to Penn Arts & Sciences for a new science center to house researchers focused on energy science. In support of the Power of Penn Arts & Sciences Campaign, the gift is the largest in the School’s history.

The new building will be named in honor of Roy and Diana Vagelos and located at 32nd and Walnut Streets. It will provide state-of-the-art research space that connects physical scientists and engineers. The new Penn Arts & Sciences and Penn Engineering facility will house the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, which brings together researchers from both Schools to solve scientific and technological problems related to energy. It will also be a home for the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER), an undergraduate dual degree program run jointly by Arts & Sciences and Engineering. 

“Roy and Diana are extraordinarily strong, prescient, and generous supporters of Penn’s highest priorities,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Sustainable energy solutions are among our nation’s most pressing needs. Supporting pathbreaking energy research is a key priority of the Power of Penn Campaign. 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.”

The new building represents Penn’s commitment to energy research and capitalizes on growing momentum across the University. It will be an incubator for scientists and engineers to engage in cross-disciplinary work and train postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduates as future leaders in the field.

Steven J. Fluharty, Dean and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience, says, “At this critical moment for energy research, I am delighted by the generous gift from Roy and Diana. Creating a sustainable planet is a priority for the Power of Penn Arts & Sciences Campaign and the new building is a vital part of that effort. It will be host to the forward-thinking, creative work of Penn’s scientists and engineers and facilitate the collaborative solutions that the problem demands.”

“This transformative gift will supercharge Penn Engineering’s interdisciplinary and innovative culture, while nucleating new collaborations with Penn Arts & Sciences,” says Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean. "There is no bigger challenge for our planet than the creation, storage, and conversion of energy in a clean, efficient and cost-effective way. Penn engineers and scientists are partners in working toward a sustainable future.”

“Energy research has been important to me and to Diana for years,” says 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.”

P. Roy Vagelos, a chemistry major who graduated from Penn in 1950 before going on to receive a medical degree from Columbia University, is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Merck & Co. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Vagelos served as Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees from 1995 to 1999, and he is a former member of the Penn Arts & Sciences’ Board of Overseers and the founding Chair of the Committee for Undergraduate Financial Aid. Diana T. Vagelos is a former overseer of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

The Vageloses’ longtime support of Penn Arts & Sciences includes the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, the Vagelos Professorships in Energy Research, VIPER, and several other science-related programs, undergraduate scholarships, and endowed professorships.

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