Carl and Ruth Shapiro family donates $25 million for new science center at Brandeis University

New science center will enhance University's leadership in basic research

Longtime Brandeis benefactors Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro have donated $25 million for a new 175,000-square-foot science center designed to enhance the University's leadership in the life sciences and emerging areas of interdisciplinary research well into the 21st century, officials announced today.

Ground will be broken in the spring for the $154 million Carl J. Shapiro Science Center, the largest capital initiative in Brandeis history. The facility, designed by Payette Associates of Boston, will feature state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research labs, classrooms, a science commons, seminar rooms, conference space, and a café.

"The complex will allow Brandeis to advance its leadership position in scientific research, and make it possible for us to continue to attract the brightest and best researchers from around the world," Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz said.

Brandeis research scientists have made important discoveries in vital areas such as genetics, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and memory and hearing. The University has pioneered the scientific frontiers at the boundaries of different disciplines – biology and physics or psychology and neuroscience – to create promising new fields of endeavor.

Brandeis is the alma mater of Roderick MacKinnon '78, the 2003 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, and five members of the faculty are Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators.

"I have always believed in Brandeis and its commitment to improving the human condition through scientific research," Carl Shapiro said. "Brandeis is doing important work in the life sciences and other areas that will help us understand the causes and find cures for debilitating diseases."

The generous donation – matched in Brandeis history only by the family's gift for the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Campus Center –makes the Shapiros the leading benefactors in Brandeis history with a total of more than $60 million.

"Remarkable does not adequately describe the Shapiro family's dedication to and support of this institution," Reinharz said. "Their profound contributions are historic in scope and will benefit generations to come."

The Shapiros, who reside in Boston and Palm Beach, Fla., have shown an enduring commitment since making their initial gift to the University more than a half-century ago. Over the years, the family has established the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Center for Library Technology and Journals, Carl J. Shapiro Chair in International Finance, Carl and Ruth Shapiro Admissions Center, Carl and Ruth Shapiro Campus Center, and an atrium/public forum space at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

Carl Shapiro joined the Brandeis Board of Trustees in 1979, and currently serves as a trustee emeritus. The couple's three daughters – Ronny Zinner, Ellen Jaffe, and Linda Waintrup – are also involved with the University. Ronny is a longstanding member of the Brandeis Board of Trustees and serves as vice chair of the Heller School Board of Overseers.

The design of the Carl J. Shapiro Science Center reflects the way Brandeis scientists teach and conduct research. "It is designed in such a way to give students and faculty many opportunities for intellectual engagement, collaboration, learning and discovery," Reinharz said.

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About Brandeis

Characterized by academic excellence since its founding in 1948, Brandeis is one of the nation's youngest private research universities, as well as the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored college or university in the country.

Named for the late Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis of the U.S. Supreme Court, Brandeis combines the faculty and resources of a world-class research institution with the intimacy and personal attention of a small liberal arts college.


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