Penn gets a $25 million gift from Ronald O. Perelman

Ronald O. Perelman's gift will build a new center.
Ronald O. Perelman's gift will build a new center.
Posted: February 06, 2013

Billionaire investor Ronald O. Perelman has donated $25 million to the University of Pennsylvania to create a center to house its political science and economic departments, the university announced Monday.

The center will bear his name and be based at the West Philadelphia Trust Building at 36th and Walnut Streets in the heart of Penn's campus.

"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," Penn president Amy Gutmann said in a statement. The center, she said, "will transform the existing space into a magnificent new building that will combine two key academic departments in one central location."

The building currently houses several administrative offices and the office of counseling and psychological services, all of which will be relocated, Penn said in a news release.

Perelman, a university trustee and alumnus with graduate and undergraduate degrees from the Wharton School, is one of the richest Americans. He is 26th in Forbes' latest rankings, with a net worth of $12 billion. A major philanthropist, he is chairman and chief executive officer of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., a New York-based holding company with interests in a diversified portfolio of public and private companies.

He is the son of Raymond G. and the late Ruth Perelman, who gave Penn the largest gift in its history in 2011. The couple donated $225 million to Penn's School of Medicine, now named after them.

Ronald Perelman has made previous gifts to the university, including $20 million to create Perelman Quadrangle, allowing Penn to restore the buildings at the core of its campus. They include Houston Hall, Irvine Auditorium, Cohen Hall - named for Perelman's former wife, the late Claudia Cohen - College Hall and Williams Hall. He also has 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."


Contact Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or ssnyder@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @ssnyderinq

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