October 19, 2007

Recent Donations to Cornell Total $71.5 Million

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Cornell University has received a total of $71.5 million in recent gifts, boosting the $4 billion capital campaign past $1 billion for the Ithaca campus. Included in the recent total is the single largest standing donation in the school’s history — $15 million, donated to the arts and humanities by an anonymous third-generation Cornellian.
Another anonymous gift to the humanities, donated by a couple, totaled 10 million. This donation includes $5 million towards the endowment of the chair of the Cornell English Department. According to a press release issued by the University, the English department is significantly the largest humanities department in the Arts College.
Peter Lepage, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, stated in the press release, “The Arts College does almost half the teaching of the University, even though it comprises a third of the faculty. That’s why these gifts are great for the whole University. We provide the liberal arts component for every Cornell undergraduate program.”
A third gift of $6.5 million from the estate of the late Beatrice Mayhew Stump ’37 will also support the College of Arts and Sciences. Half of the donation will go the undergraduate scholarship aid, while the other $3.25 million will go the college’s endowment.
In addition to these gifts, $4 million from Stanford Taylor ’51 will endow the chair of the Sage School of Philosophy, and $2.5 million in the form of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create new faculty positions in Arts and Sciences. The chair of the economics and government departments will be endowed by donations of $5 million from Donald C. Opatrny ’74 and an anonymous donor, respectively.
Three gifts — $1 million from Cornell Presidential Counselors Bob and Helen Appel, ’53 and ’55, $1 million from Ira Drukar ’67 and $1.5 from Presidential Councillor Susan Eckert Lynch in honor of the late Robert Lynch ’58 — will enable new purchases and additions for the Johnson Museum.
Two gifts totaling $10 million will enable research into more sustainable energy use, and $1 million annually over a period of five years from University Council member David Atkinson ’60 will contribute to the launching of the Center for a Sustainable future.
In a University press release, President David J. Skorton commented on the unprecedented donations.
“We worked together to advance the campaign,” he said. “In particular, the new gifts … will energize our efforts in fundamental ways, allowing our faculty to offer new approaches to learning that inspire our students to discover and create. I am profoundly grateful to all who have contributed.”