A cool $16 mil.

An archaeologist has given $16 million to the University of Pennsylvania Museum — the largest individual contribution ever made to the Museum and one of the largest to any university museum.

The donor, Charles K. Williams II (Gr’78), was field director from 1966 to 1997 of excavations in Greece where many Penn students have done field work. This donation caps his prior gifts to the Museum, totaling more than $5.3 million.

His latest gift will air condition the historic buildings and update utilities as well as provide new exhibitions to attract more visitors to one of the preeminent museums of its kind in the world.

Williams’ donation launches a $55 million fundraising campaign, which he himself will chair, to support public programming, research, education and the collections.

At a reception Feb. 15 to announce the 21st Century Campaign, Williams said his commitment to the Museum grew out of his days as a Ph.D. student in archaeology at Penn: “This museum was more than a classroom, more than a great cultural center. It was my home.”


Originally published on March 1, 2001