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$11 million gift builds real estate program

Lisa and Richard Baker

Lisa and Richard Baker '88 See larger image

In April, Cornell's Program in Real Estate received a $11 million gift from Lisa and Richard Baker '88, owners of the Hudson's Bay Company, which operates Lord & Taylor and other stores. Their gift more than tripled the program's endowment.

In recognition of the couple's gift, the Cornell Board of Trustees approved the program's renaming to the Baker Program in Real Estate. In addition, the Baker program is being restructured, effective July 1, and will be governed by the College of Architecture, Art and Planning and the School of Hotel Administration – the two schools most directly aligned with teaching, research and professional careers in real estate.

Robert Abrams '53 and Howard Milstein '73 founded the original Program in Real Estate, which graduated its first class in 1998.

The two-year professional program will now offer a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree and a dual MPS/MBA degree.

"I think this is going to help elevate Cornell's program to be one of the premier real estate programs in the United States," said Richard Baker, a member of the advisory boards of the School of Hotel Administration and the Program in Real Estate.

– Gary E. Frank

Engineering programs receive $10M gift

John A. Swanson

John A. Swanson '61, M.Eng. '63 See larger image

John A. Swanson '61, M.Eng. '63, has committed $10 million to boost undergraduate education in the College of Engineering – including its experiential learning opportunities.

Half the gift will endow the college's project teams that bring together students to design and build, for example, race cars, autonomous submarines and water purification systems, as well as endow the directorship of the engineering project teams.

Members of the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle team

Members of the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle team. See larger image

Another $2 million will provide endowment funds for the Academic Excellence Workshop, which allows students to enhance their education through structured peer interactions, and the Engineering Learning Initiatives program, which enables undergraduates to work alongside Cornell's world-class faculty. The remaining $3 million will establish the John A. Swanson Engineering Undergraduate Scholarship Fund.

For more than 25 years, the college has supported project teams that involve hundreds of students from across the university in national competitions. The annual budget for the teams is more than $200,000.

"Thanks to John's incredibly generous gift, these teams will no longer have to rely on uncertain funding from companies and other sources that fluctuate year to year," said Lance Collins, dean of the college.

– Emily Sanders Hopkins

$400K gift advances new research into health policy

A $400,000 gift from the Lawrence and Rebecca Stern Family Foundation to College of Human Ecology researchers will support evidence-based approaches to the public debate about U.S. health care (Larry Stern '79, is pictured at left).

Larry Stern

Larry Stern '79 See larger image

The gift will fund studies to better understand how individual behavior can prevent chronic disease and examine the relationship between increasing costs for treatments and patient well-being and recovery.

Using the college's partnerships with Weill Cornell Medical College faculty members, half of the gift will support research on a national palliative care model, led by gerontologist Karl Pillemer, the Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development.

The gift also provides seed funds for new research by Alan Mathios, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology, and fellow Department of Policy Analysis and Management professor Don Kenkel. They will begin to assess the impact of the new mandate that insurance companies cover certain pharmaceutical products that are associated with preventive care with no co-pay by the patient.

Finally, the Stern Foundation gift will allow a third research project to move forward: clinical data sets promise to give the fullest sample yet to support a comparative analysis of cancer treatment costs in Europe and the United States.

– John McKain

Infographic: Campaign giving

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