$55 Million for Women in STEM

Diana T. Vagelos ’55 and Dr. P. Roy Vagelos’ gift is the single largest donation in the College’s history

Photo of Diana T. Vagelos ’55 and Dr. P. Roy Vagelos

In March, Barnard announced that the College is the recipient of a $55 million gift from Diana T. Vagelos ’55 and Dr. P. Roy Vagelos to fund the renovation and expansion of Altschul Hall, home to the College’s principal science facilities. The gift, more than double the size of any previous single donation in Barnard’s history, will elevate the College as a leader in preparing young women and underrepresented voices for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. 

The new name of the building is the Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center.    

Designed to bolster Barnard’s inclusive approach to education, bringing together a broad spectrum of intellectual pursuits and the full diversity of the community, it will have the labs and spaces to accommodate the Summer Research Institute as well as two of Barnard’s newest programs, Computer Science and Neuroscience & Behavior.     

“We are incredibly grateful to Diana and Roy,” said President Sian Leah Beilock. “This gift adds to their legacy of impacting Barnard, and I couldn’t think of better thought partners in our goal of diversifying thought leadership in STEM.”  

For the past three decades, the Vageloses have supported a range of campus facilities and initiatives, including gifts to make possible the Diana Center, the alumnae center, the computer science center, an endowed professorship, and a successful financial aid matching program. Diana Vagelos has also served on Barnard’s Board of Trustees since 2003, and her leadership has proved invaluable to the College.     “As philanthropists, Roy and I really believe in giving to initiatives and organizations that further science, technology, and medicine. We are enormously confident in the College’s vision for the future and proud to support STEM at Barnard,” says Diana.     

To date, the College has put more than $220 million toward the $240 million renovation, as well as $35 million for programming, from over 100 donors. Lead donors include Daphne Recanati Kaplan and Thomas S. Kaplan P’24 and Cheryl Glicker Milstein ’82 and Philip Milstein CC ’71. A gift toward renovations, and another to establish the Alexander Science Lecture Series, has been pledged by the Norman E. Alexander Family G Foundation, Gail Alexander Binderman ’62, president. The College is also announcing the launch of the Science Center Matching Campaign, thanks to the generous support of the Vagelos and Milstein families.     

The Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center will create an environment that fosters collaboration, encourages interactions with our Harlem and Morningside Heights neighbors, and showcases key programs, including the Summer Research Institute, STEAM in the City, and the Science Pathways Scholars Program. State-of-the-art facilities and training by world-renowned researchers will enable Barnard students to take advantage of New York City’s vast network of entrepreneurs and innovators as they prepare for careers in STEM.     

“We are so pleased to support this renovation and are excited to see how the campus will be transformed with this newly designed building as a fresh gateway,” says Diana. 

Latest IssueSpring 2022

In this issue, you'll read about the New York governor's deputy chief of staff Linda Sun '06, a student-led mission to study bacteria in space, the alums leading the way in the sustainable flower movement, and more.