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A Force for Good at Penn

A record gift from Roy and Diana Vagelos is building on the already immeasurable impact of their longtime support of Penn Arts & Sciences. Their philanthropy and passion have catalyzed new discoveries, facilities, and educational opportunities in the sciences and energy research. With this new commitment, they continue to empower students and faculty to expand scientific knowledge.

A transformative gift from Roy and Diana Vagelos will strengthen science research and education at Penn Arts & Sciences

JANUARY 25, 2024

The University of Pennsylvania announced today that P. Roy Vagelos, C’50, PAR’90, HON’99, and Diana T. Vagelos, PAR’90, have made a gift of $83.9 million to fund science initiatives across the School of Arts & Sciences. This commitment is the largest single gift ever made to the School and among the largest in Penn’s history. Their total support to Penn Arts & Sciences now stands at $239 million and represents an extraordinary investment in innovation and basic science.

Interim President

J. Larry Jameson

“Roy and Diana’s philanthropic support has been expanding Penn’s horizons in the sciences for more than four decades…We are deeply committed to their bold vision for what Penn can accomplish, from discoveries in the lab to inspiring students in the classroom. The legacy of their partnership will have an enduring impact on generations to come.”

Chemical Transformations

The largest portion of this transformative gift, $50 million, will enhance graduate education in the Department of Chemistry, including the establishment of 20 new Vagelos Fellows. The Vageloses’ substantial support for graduate education is consistent with a key priority for the School of Arts & Sciences and recognizes the critical importance of training scientists of the future. To bolster excellence in chemistry research and teaching, the Vageloses have also directed $3 million of the gift to fund their seventh endowed professorship at Penn Arts & Sciences.

Thomas Mallouk, the Vagelos Professor in Energy Research and Chair of the Department of Chemistry, studies bipolar membranes and their potential usage in renewable energy conversion.

Steven J. Fluharty

Dean and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience

“Investing in our graduate students, and bringing them together with the best faculty, is the most promising path to breakthrough discoveries addressing not only the challenges that are facing us today, but ones that we have not yet imagined.”

Advancing Energy Solutions

The Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, launched in 2016 through founding support from the Vageloses to position Penn as one of the premier energy research and technology centers in the nation, receives a permanent endowment through this new commitment. Under the leadership of Karen Goldberg, the Institute is home to a powerful constellation of scientists who share a commitment to exploring new research directions in energy science and technology.

The Vageloses’ past philanthropy also includes the Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology, which will serve as the home to the Vagelos Institute and VIPER.

Karen Goldberg

Vagelos Professor in Energy Research in the Department of Chemistry and Vagelos Institute Director

“The Vageloses are putting Penn’s energy research effort into superdrive.”

Poised to Lead

The Vageloses have long championed interdisciplinary learning at Penn. Three dual-degree programs carry the Vagelos name, paving the way for young minds to grow into well-rounded, forward-thinking leaders in the sciences. New student awards in each of these programs will honor their faculty leaders and recognize exceptional rising seniors.

As a student in the Vagelos Program in Life Sciences & Management, Shivani Nellore, C’23, W’23, conducted cancer research throughout her undergraduate career, was a business intern at the Lifespan Cancer Institute, and worked with Philadelphia high school students via the Educational Pipeline Program. She joined the front lines during the pandemic as a pharmacy technician at her local CVS in Great Falls, Virginia.

Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in the Molecular Life Sciences

Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management

Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research

The Vageloses have galvanized support for student aid since Roy’s term as Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. In addition to the many students supported by funding from Vagelos scholarships, Roy has gone above and beyond to mentor students through frequent visits to campus. As a former VIPER student noted, Roy is an ever-present guide for students in the Vagelos programs, “always eager to hear about our research and give us advice for the future.”

“This monumental new gift caps off the incomparable impact that Roy and Diana have had on scientific research and education at Penn Arts & Sciences. From supporting and recruiting exceptional chemists to educating future experts in top-notch research facilities and interdisciplinary undergraduate programs, we will continue to make great strides thanks to the partnership and incredible generosity of Roy and Diana.”

—Steven J. Fluharty