April 27, 2006
Vol. 25 No. 15

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    Gordons give $25 million for new science building

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    Melvin and Ellen Gordon

    Ellen and Melvin Gordon have donated $25 million toward the University’s largest science building, constructed to exacting standards so that scientists could pursue innovative research that crosses the traditional boundaries between physics, chemistry and biology.

    “The University’s largest and most technologically advanced building will henceforth be known as The Ellen and Melvin Gordon Center for Integrative Science,” said President Randel. “We are proud to firmly link the Gordon family name with an ambitious research program that will extend into the scientific and biomedical frontiers of the 21st century.”

    Randel announced the naming earlier this week.

    Ellen Gordon is president of Tootsie Roll Industries Inc., and Melvin Gordon is chairman of the board. The Gordons serve on the boards of several philanthropic institutions. Ellen Gordon also holds memberships on a variety of advisory councils in higher education, business and the community, including the Visiting Committee to the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago since 1994.

    “We all dream of a day,” Mrs. Gordon said, “when there is less suffering and pain in the world. Thanks to institutions like the University of Chicago we have made enormous progress toward that day, but there is still much more to do. In business, Melvin and I look for the best return on our investment. In philanthropy, we also look for the best return and are therefore pleased to be a part of this wondrous collaborative research that can make life better for many people.”

    Scientists began moving into the Gordon Center last June. Once fully occupied, more than 100 senior scientists and 700 additional researchers and students will work in the 400,000-square-foot building. It provides space for the Institute of Biophysical Dynamics, the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Ben May Cancer Research Institute, the Chemistry Department, and the James Franck Institute.

    “This generous gift will support research of a kind that reflects the core values of our University—innovative discovery crossing disciplinary boundaries and unmasking ideas of sufficient size and quality to create new paradigms of thought,” said James Madara, Vice President for Medical Affairs, and Dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine.

    Robert Fefferman, Dean of the Physical Sciences, said: “We are gratified by Ellen and Melvin Gordon’s investment in basic research at the University. The new building will place many of our scientists from different research specialties in much closer proximity to one another on a daily basis than ever before, potentially sparking productive new collaborations that may not otherwise occur.”