Billionaire Investor Gives U. Penn $25M Gift

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University of Pennsylvania alum Ronald Perelman has donated $25M to his alma mater, to create a center for its political science and economic departments, the university announced Monday.

“With this gift, Mr. Perelman has single-handedly assured the vitality of the social sciences at Penn by providing for a home for our truly outstanding political science and economics faculty,” said Rebecca Bushnell, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “I know that the impact of this gift will be felt across the School for years to come.”

The Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics will be located at the heart of the Ivy League’s campus, the West Philadelphia Trust Building at 36th and Walnut Street.

Penn president Amy Gutmann said in a statement: “Ron Perelman’s extraordinary generosity will enable us to create an outstanding center for political science and economics, two of Penn’s most popular undergraduate majors.”

This isn’t the first donation the billionaire investor had made to the university. In 2006, he made gave $20M to establish the Perelman Quadrangle, which allows the school to restore buildings to the core of its campus. They include Houston Hall, Irvine Auditorium and Cohen Hall. In the past, he has also donated to undergraduate financial aid, Wharton, athletics and medicine.

“I am proud to continue my support of this extraordinary institution that means so much to me and my family,” Perelman said in a statement. “This gift underscores my deeply held belief that our next generation must be given the tools to not only understand but positively impact government and the increasingly complex global economy.”

A Family Affair

The businessman is no stranger to philanthropic endeavors. In 2011, his parents Raymond G. and the late Ruth Perelman, gave the University of Pennsylvania its largest donation to date: $225 million to the School of Medicine, which now bears their name. Raymond is a 1940 graduate of Penn’s Wharton School of Business, and member of U of Penn Medicine board of trustees.

Likewise, the younger Perelman earned his B.S. and MBA from the school in 1964 and 1966. He went on to become the chairman and CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., a diversified holding company, and is now among the school’s richest alum, ranking 26th among Forbes 2012 magazine’s richest Americans.

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