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The Wendy and Wayne Holman Reading Room in the newly renamed Holman Biotech Commons (Photo from Penn Today).

The recently renovated Biotech Commons will be renamed Holman Biotech Commons after a $5 million gift from a Wharton alumna. 

1997 Wharton graduate Wendy Commins Holman, her husband Wayne Holman, and their family donated the multimillion dollar gift to Penn, which will rename the library and fund its upkeep.

Biotech Commons was previously called the Biomedical Library, but following the $11.5 million renovation completed in fall 2021, it was rebranded to reflect the library’s evolution and new aims. 

“[Biotech] helps draw attention to the fact that we're trying to be more of an interdisciplinary hub across campus. [Commons] draws attention to the collaborative focus of the new facility,” Barbara Cavanaugh, an associate University librarian for Research Services & the director of Science and Business Libraries, previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

The Holmans supported the renovation at the time by funding the Wendy and Wayne Holman Reading Room in the space. The room “serves as both an independent study area and a multipurpose event space,” according to the Penn Libraries.

Wendy Holman is the CEO and co-founder of Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on “developing transformational therapies to resolve or mitigate the effects of emerging infectious diseases,” according to its website

She is also a member of the Penn Libraries Board of Advisors, the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and the Board of Trustees of Sabin Vaccine Institute.

“Most of my work focus — as a philanthropist, volunteer, and as a CEO — has a common thread: to have a tangible positive effect on health and human suffering,” Holman told Penn Libraries. 

“Penn’s researchers, scientists, and scholars have done an incredible job leading the world in biomedical research, and our planet is a safer, better, and healthier place as a result,” Holman added. “Penn’s libraries are not only a place to house our tremendous collections; they are centers of research excellence which continue to keep Penn at the forefront of innovation.”