UPenn To Build Gay Student Center

The University of Pennsylvania accepted a $2 million donation last week for the building of a new Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender student center (LGBT). The donation and center are the first and largest for that purpose in higher education philanthropy, according to Penn.

Harvard has no such center.

Funds for the Penn LGBT student center were given by two alumni of the university, partners for life David Goodhand and Vincent Griski, both members of Penn's Class of 1985. They announced the gift at Penn's National Coming Out Day ceremonies last Wednesday.

In an e-mail message Goodhand and Griski wrote that they have "fond memories of Penn."

"But it was really a matter of Penn being ready for the gift," they wrote. "We had been supporting the existing center for a few years and we got to know the students there. They were the primary inspiration for our gift."

Penn LGBT Director Bob Schoenberg said the center will combine his initial ideas with the couple's own desire to significantly contribute to what he described as Penn's progressive environment.

"I've known David and Vincent since they were undergraduates," Schoenberg said. "In 1997 I had dinner with David and Vincent and they asked me to compose a wish list of my hopes for the center and community. My list included everything from making a $500 film series to optimistically, new space. I had no idea of the depth of David and Vincent's resources."

Goodhand and Griski have also endowed two scholarships for students at Penn and donated funds that increased the staff of the current LGBT Center.