Roy Vagelos, 1950 College graduate, and his wife Diana Vagelos donated $50 million to the School of Arts and Sciences to fund the construction of a new science building focused on energy research. The building, which will be named after Roy and Diana Vagelos, is the biggest donation in SAS history.
The new energy building, which will be located on 32nd and Walnut streets next to David Rittenhouse Laboratory, will provide research spaces for both SAS and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. It will house the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, as well as serve as the home for the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research, an undergraduate dual-degree program between SAS and the Engineering School.
Roy and Diana Vagelos have made various contributions to Penn in the past, including the Laboratories of the Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences & Management, the Roy and Diana Vagelos Scholars Program in the Molecular Life Sciences, and the VIPER program.
Prior to the Vagelos’ donation, the energy building was designed as the Science Research Building under the Power of Penn campaign.
“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," SAS Dean Steven J. Fluharty said to Penn Today.
“Energy research has been important to me and to Diana for years,” Vagelos said to Penn Today. “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.”
The new energy building may take up facilities in the High Bay area behind DRL, which is currently used for constructing large detectors and telescopes, Physics Graduate Chair Joshua Klein said to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Roy Vagelos majored in chemistry at Penn before going on to receive a medical degree from Columbia University. In December 2017, the Vageloses donated a $250 million dollar naming gift to Columbia's medical school. Vagelos is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co.