PHILADELPHIA -- Clark Enterprises Inc. has given $2 million to the University of Pennsylvania to create and endow the Lawrence C. Nussdorf Chair at the University newly created Penn Institute for Urban Research. The gift honors Lawrence Nussdorf, a University trustee and Graduate School of Education overseer who is president and chief operating officer at Clark Enterprises the Maryland-based parent company of The Clark Construction Group, one of the nation's largest general contractors.
"With this generous gift," Penn President Amy Gutmann said, "Penn is better positioned than ever to become an extraordinary leader in urban research and teaching. I am deeply grateful to Clark Enterprises for endowing the Nussdorf Chair, which will enable Penn to attract preeminent faculty members to the Institute. James Clark and his colleagues have found a truly wonderful way to honor one of Penn most loyal alumni.
In making the gift, A. James Clark, chairman and CEO of Clark Enterprises, said, "Larry Nussdorf has played a large role in the growth and success of Clark Enterprises. We hold him in very high esteem for both his ethics and ability and could think of nothing that would honor and please him more than a chair at his beloved alma mater."
Former Penn President Judith Rodin, who chairs the Institute external advisory board, said the gift reflected a "generous concern for the welfare of our urban communities in the best traditions of American philanthropy. The Nussdorf Chair will pump-prime the work of the Institute."
In honor of the new chair, the Institute is hosting a symposium, "Transforming Cities: Positive Outcomes of Public/Private Engagement," on Sept. 22 to discuss the impact of recent urban policy changes on cities across the country. Gutmann and Rodin will join panelists Alice Rivlin, senior fellow of The Brookings Institution; John Timoney, Miami chief of police; and James Nevels, founder of the Swarthmore Group and chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, to discuss public safety, fiscal responsibility and school reform.
The Penn Institute for Urban Research serves as a hub for urban research, education and practice at the University, integrating the work of experts from Penn's 12 schools. The co-directors are Eugenie L. Birch, professor and chair, Department of City and Regional Planning, Penn School of Design, and Susan M. Wachter, professor of financial management at Penn's Wharton School
The search for the first Nussdorf Professor will begin in 2005.