The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Construction on the Wharton Academic Research Building on May 25. Credit: Chase Sutton

Two Penn alumni donated $5 million to fund Wharton undergraduate financial aid and the completion of the Wharton Academic Research Building, the Wharton School announced Monday.

The contribution, gifted by Jacqueline Reses, a 1992 Wharton graduate, and her husband Matthew Apfel, a 1990 Penn Law School graduate, will go towards both Wharton undergraduate financial aid — through a new Named Scholarship and The Reses Apfel Men and Women of Pennsylvania Challenge Fund — as well as the Wharton Academic Research Building, which had its opening delayed to spring 2021 as a result of the pandemic. 

"Jackie and Matt have remained dedicated and connected to Penn and with these extraordinary gifts to Wharton, they help to advance future generations of business leaders and provide inspiration for other alumnae to join in supporting the School at meaningful levels," Wharton Dean Erika James said in a press release.

Part of the donation will extend their involvement with the Undergraduate Named Scholarship program, which they first sponsored in 2008 by creating the Reses Apfel Family Endowed Scholarship to support female undergraduates at Wharton.

Another portion of the gift endows the Reses Apfel Men and Women of Pennsylvania Challenge Fund, which also supports undergraduate financial aid. The fund will match scholarship donations from future philanthropists. 

Additionally, the donation will support the final steps of construction of the Wharton Academic Research Building, scheduled to be completed in November and occupied by early spring 2021. This five-story building will be located on the corner of 37th and Spruce streets and will house student and faculty research projects, especially those with a focus on data and analytics. Classrooms, group study rooms, and an atrium are among the planned features. 

Reses and Apfel have consistently stayed involved with Penn since their respective graduations. Reses is a member of the Wharton Undergraduate Executive Board and is a frequent guest lecturer, including last April for Wharton's course on the COVID-19 pandemic. She also played a major role in revamping Wharton’s undergraduate curriculum. Apfel similarly serves as a frequent guest speaker for Penn Law. 

“I want to support the School in its mission to make it possible for every student who earns a place at Wharton to be able to attend and thrive,” Reses said in the press release.

This contribution follows several recent Wharton gifts from other donors, including a $2.5 million gift creating the Turner MIINT Fund, a $10 million gift endowing the Friends of Israel MBA Fund in September, and a $5 million gift establishing Wharton AI for Business in May.