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Peter and Geri Skirkanich's $10 Million Gift:
A New Home for Bioengineering

Alumnus J. Peter Skirkanich W '65, and his wife, Geri, have pledged $10 million to build Skirkanich Hall, Penn's new home for bioengineering.

The gift, the largest by an individual donor in SEAS's history, will help finance a 58,400-square-foot bioengineering laboratory facility in the School of Engineering and Applied Science complex. The facility, to be located near the School of Medicine, will house faculty, staff, students and researchers as part of SEAS's $57 million bioengineering initiative.

Mr. Skirkanich, a Penn trustee and engineering school overseer, is founder and president of Fox Asset Management, a New Jersey investment management and counseling firm with more than $2 billion in assets.

Skirkanich Hall is the latest in a list of gifts that include the Skirkanich Professorships of Innovation to hire young faculty and the Peter and Geri Skirkanich Endowed Scholarships for engineering undergraduates.

The Skirkaniches' generosity and vision "have provided Penn Engineering with the opportunity to grow and prosper like never before in its history," said Engineering Dean Eduardo Glandt.

Mr. Skirkanich believes that the investments in bioengineering and biomedical engineering will yield path-breaking achievements in medicine and health.

"Engineers and physicians working together will have a direct impact on the health and welfare of individuals. With aging populations around the world, that work takes on added significance," he said.

President Judith Rodin said the Skirkaniches' gift "is a vote of confidence in Penn's ground-breaking bioengineering efforts. Close collaboration between the engineering and medical school faculty at Penn provides a huge basis for these efforts. We are grateful to Pete and Geri for their generosity and their vision."

The gift for Skirkanich Hall accompanies a $14 million, five-year grant from the Whitaker Foundation to support programs and faculty in bioengineering. Seven new faculty will be added in the next five years in the core areas of injury bioengineering, neuroengineering, orthopedic bioengineering and cardiovascular bioengineering. At the same time, the number of bioengineering graduate students will nearly double from 18 to a target level of 35 a year.

SEAS was one of the first to award an undergraduate degree in bioengineering. Today Engineering's partnership with the School of Medicine exposes students to open-heart surgery, epilepsy treatments and other procedures that rely on technology in what Dean Glandt calls "the ultimate field trip for bioengineers."

Mr. Skirkanich financed his Penn education with savings from jobs during high school, summers and college along with educational loans. At Penn he played varsity football and belonged to the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 28, April 2, 2002


April 2, 2002
Volume 48 Number 28

Peter Skirkanich W '65, and his wife, Geri, have pledged $10 million to build a new home for bioengineering; it is the largest gift by an individual donor in the history of SEAS.
Dr. Jim O'Donnell will give the Baccalaureate address next month, his swan song at Penn after two decades, before becoming provost at Georgetown.
Have something you want to say about Penn's plans for the future? The open forum on the new strategic plan, Building on Excellence: The Next Agenda, is this afternoon.
Taxes have been around a long time, according to three of the Museum's experts on ancient civilizations. No wonder Franklin knew we could count on them!