Penn alumni David Goodhand, C '85 and Vincent Griski, W '85, made history in higher education philanthropy on October 11 as they announced their $2 million contribution to Penn. The announcement took place at a ceremony celebrating the couple's gift and National Coming Out Day, a project sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign that encourages gays to be open and honest about their sexual orientation.
The gift from retired Microsoft executive David Goodhand and life partner Vincent Griski, a former Wall Street financial analyst, will renovate Carriage House, a historic campus structure; it will house the University's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Center--one of the oldest and most active centers of its kind in U.S. higher education. Their gift is the first and largest of its kind to directly benefit an LGBT campus community, and it officially kicks-off a $5 million fundraising campaign to complete the Center's construction and endow its programs.
President Judith Rodin acknowledged their historic gesture, "On behalf of the University of Pennsylvania community, Provost Barchi and I are deeply grateful for Vincent and David's gift. It is indeed gratifying to know that Penn provided the environment that enabled these men to live openly as gay individuals and in a loving relationship. Their gift reflects on that experience while they were undergraduates here, and as a result, the LGBT Center at Penn at Carriage House will provide many generations of students with even better programs and facilities designed to help them achieve their personal authenticity."
"Our gift expresses our warm memories of Penn, where our relationship began, and our belief in the limitless possibilities for lesbian and gay people," said Mr. Goodhand. "The University provided an open, safe environment that allowed us to grow as individuals and together. It is a rare pleasure for us to be able to give back in such a meaningful way, and we applaud President Rodin's and Provost Barchi's commitment to continue a long-standing legacy that welcomes and affirms a diverse campus community."
"It is most fitting to make this announcement on a day that encourages gays and lesbians to be open and honest about who they are," said Mr. Griski. "We hope our gift will urge other gay and lesbian alumni at Penn and elsewhere to give back to their alma mater in ways that are important to them. David and I are happy that our gift will provide a welcoming and safe environment for generations of Penn students to come."
Mr. Goodhand and Mr. Griski are both 1985 graduates of Penn; David R. Goodhand, 37, is retired from Microsoft Corporation where he designed Internet products. His life partner Vincent J. Griski, 36, was a vice president and financial analyst on Wall Street prior to joining Microsoft's treasury department. The couple met in 1983 while undergraduates at Penn. They are actively involved in local and national politics and in philanthropic projects.
The LGBT Center at Penn is among the country's oldest and most active campus centers. In 2002, the Center will celebrate two decades of its mission to increase the Penn community's understanding and acceptance of its sexual and gender minority members. The Center features programs for Penn's LGBT campus community, including outreach and education, special events and public forums, a research and reading room, advocacy, social networking, ongoing communications and individual and organizational support.
Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 9, October 24, 2000