P. Roy Vagelos C’50 Hon’99 and his wife Diana T. Vagelos donated $50 million to the School of Arts and Sciences in early April for a new science center to house researchers focused on energy sciences—the largest gift in the School’s history.
The new building, located on 32nd and Walnut Streets, will be named in honor of the couple and provide state-of-the-art research space that connects physical scientists and engineers. It will be home to both the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, established in 2016 to solve scientific and technological problems related to energy, and the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER), an undergraduate dual degree program run jointly by Arts & Sciences and Engineering.
“Sustainable energy solutions are among our nation’s most pressing needs,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann, calling Roy and Diana Vagelos “extraordinarily strong, prescient, and generous supporters of Penn’s highest priorities.” She added that the University’s “distinctively interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to energy solutions” will be showcased in the new building, which will be an incubator for scientists and engineers to engage in cross-disciplinary work and train postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduates.
“Energy research has been important to me and to Diana for years,” said Vagelos, the retired chairman and CEO of Merck and current board chair at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. “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.”
Vagelos—a former chair of Penn’s board of trustees—and his wife have helped fund several other science-related programs at Penn, as well as undergraduate scholarships and endowed professorships.