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1965 Wharton Graduate Ronald S. Lauder, son of Estee Lauder and heir to her multi-billion dollar cosmetic company, is the Chairman of the Lauder Institute Board of Governors. (Mazda2-Seat // CC BY-SA 3.0)

The building that houses the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management & International Studies at Penn is undergoing a renovation, Wharton announced in a press release on Tuesday. 

The renovation — funded in large part by 1965 Wharton graduate and Chair of the Lauder Institute Board of Governors Ronald Lauder — came at the end of the five-year Lauder Institute Challenge: Investing in Global Leaders campaign. Through the Lauder Challenge, the Lauder family matched dollar-to-dollar the $15 million raised from over 1,000 alumni and friends. The $30 million is going toward opportunities within the Lauder Institute for innovation, visibility, and accessibility. 

The Lauder family made a separate multi-million dollar donation for the building renovations.

At a dedication ceremony, Ronald Lauder and 1954 Wharton graduate Leonard Lauder were joined by President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett this week in commemorating the Lauder family's gift to the University. 

The building began the renovation project in early 2018 and is set to be completed in the fall of 2019. All four floors of the building, which is located on the corner of 37th and Spruce Streets, will be redesigned with expanded lobby and event space. The total cost of the renovations is not disclosed to the public, said Caroline Pennartz associate director of media relations for Wharton.

“Leonard and I had a vision 35 years ago that Penn would teach students something we didn’t have available to us — the opportunity to combine a business or law education with international studies,” said Ronald Lauder, according to the press release. “Now 35 years later, with this renovation, our dream has its own home.”

Although the building that houses the Lauder Institute was not built until 1990, the brothers founded the Lauder Institute in 1983 with a $10 million donation to honor their late father Joseph Lauder. Their mother was Estée Lauder, founder of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and was present at the original building’s groundbreaking ceremony.

This isn’t the first major donation from the Lauder family.

Leonard Lauder again donated $10 million in 1996, which made the total $20 million endowment the largest of any international management program of its kind.

Chair of Estée Lauder Companies and 1983 Wharton graduate William P. Lauder donated $4 million to the Wharton Leadership Fellows Program and established the William P. Lauder Wharton Leadership Fellows program last spring. 

The Lauder family were lead contributors to New College House, prompting speculation over whether the building would be named for them.

“Ronald and Leonard made the Lauder Institute’s creation possible decades ago and they have remained steadfast in propelling its bold mission forward,” said Gutmann at the dedication ceremony on Tuesday, according to the press release. 

Gutmann added that Ronald Lauder’s leadership is “inspirational to me and to so many others across the university and around the world.”

Correction: A previous version of this article wrote that the Lauder family donated $30 million as a building gift. That sum of money was the goal of the Lauder Institute Challenge, and was not a building gift. The DP regrets the error. 

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