Two University of Pennsylvania programs focusing on energy and sustainability have received a total $80 million in gifts, including a $50 million donation to Penn Arts & Science, a record for the school.
P. Roy Vagelos, the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Merck & Co., and his wife, Diana, gave $50 million to build a center to connect physical scientists and engineers who are focused on energy-related solutions.
“There is no bigger challenge for our planet than the creation, storage, and conversion of energy in a clean, efficient and cost-effective way,” Vijay Kumar, dean of Penn Engineering, said in a statement.
The new building, which will be at 32nd and Walnut Streets and will be named in the Vagelos’ honor, will house the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, established in 2016, and the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research.
P. Roy Vagelos, who graduated from Penn with a chemistry degree in 1950 before receiving a medical degree from Columbia University, is board chair of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. He served as chair of Penn’s Board of Trustees from 1995 to 1999. Diana T. Vagelos is a former overseer of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Penn on Monday also announced a $30 million anonymous gift to support continued programming at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, which opened in 2014 at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design. The center provides support to faculty for policy research and also hosts public lectures and panels with leading experts from academia and industry, including the annual Carnot Prize, which recognizes a distinguished leader in energy policy.