The Marie-Josee and Henry R. Kravis Foundation Provides Landmark Gift of $100 Million to The Rockefeller University

New Research Center Will Help Attract the Best Talent to Make Transformative Discoveries

May 20, 2015, 09:00 ET from The Rockefeller University

NEW YORK, May 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of The Rockefeller University, today announced a leadership gift of $100 million from The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation to help create a new laboratory building that will be the centerpiece of the University's major planned campus extension. The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building, two stories high, will be constructed over the FDR Drive, spanning approximately three city blocks following the shoreline of the East River. Overall, the campus extension project will be four city blocks in length and will add two acres to the University's current 14-acre footprint.

"We are deeply grateful for the extraordinary generosity of these two remarkable philanthropists," Dr. Tessier-Lavigne said. "The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building will help us stay at the cutting edge of scientific discovery and enable us to continue to recruit top faculty by providing them with the facilities they need to make transformative discoveries."

Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, the innovative Kravis Research Building will house state-of-the-art laboratory space for Rockefeller's scientific and educational programs. Unique features of the design include an open plan that will provide a high degree of flexibility to accommodate the changing needs of research over time.

"Henry and I are thrilled to help advance the kind of paradigm-changing discoveries that Rockefeller is known for and that will improve human health," said Marie-Josée Kravis. "The new building and its laboratories will enable the University's scientists to continue to push the boundaries of biomedical knowledge in important and exciting ways."

The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building will be the foundational element of the University's new Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus. The Niarchos Foundation–Rockefeller River Campus project was launched in November 2014 by two leadership pledges totaling $150 million—$75 million each from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and from David Rockefeller.

"The Rockefeller University is unique in that it attracts the best scientists from around the world and gives them the freedom and support to tackle the biggest questions in science," said Henry R. Kravis, who serves as a vice chair of the University's Board of Trustees. "Another hallmark of the University is its interdisciplinary and collaborative culture. These new laboratories have been designed to enable scientists to work seamlessly with colleagues both within and beyond their fields." 

"Since its inception, the mission of The Rockefeller University has remained unchanged—to conduct science that will benefit humanity," said Russell L. Carson, chair of the University's Board of Trustees. "The philanthropic vision shown by Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis serves as an inspiration to all of us and will help to ensure that the University and its scientists will remain leaders in biomedical discovery, today and tomorrow."

"In so many areas of biomedical science, we are making great strides in our understanding of health and disease," said Dr. Tessier-Lavigne. "Investigations in genetics, neuroscience, immunology, and molecular and cell biology are yielding new strategies for the treatment of major diseases. Among these are cancer in its many forms, Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, obesity and metabolic diseases, and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, to cite just a few examples."

Dr. Tessier-Lavigne added: "Rockefeller scientists working in the laboratories of the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building will have the tools at their disposal to continue to advance the frontiers of knowledge. Additionally, the graduate students and postdocs who will become tomorrow's scientific leaders will train in Kravis Research Building laboratories."

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus will house several new buildings in addition to the Kravis Research Building, including a dining commons, an academic center, and a conference center. Associated gardens and other amenities will further enrich the University's highly collaborative research environment. As part of the project, the University will also improve and beautify the public esplanade adjacent to the campus for the benefit of the greater New York City community, and make major repairs to the seawall along the East River. Video overviews of the Kravis Research Building and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus, along with architectural renderings, can be viewed at:

About The Rockefeller University

Founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1901, The Rockefeller University was this nation's first biomedical research institution. Hallmarks of the University include a research environment that provides scientists with the support they need to do imaginative science and a truly international graduate program that is unmatched for the freedom and resources it provides students to develop their capacities for innovative research. The Rockefeller University Hospital, founded in 1910 as the first center for clinical research in the United States, remains a place where researchers combine laboratory investigations with bedside observations to provide a scientific basis for disease detection, prevention, and treatment.

Since the institution's founding, The Rockefeller University has been the site of many important scientific breakthroughs. Rockefeller scientists, for example, established that DNA is the chemical basis of heredity, identified the weight-regulating hormone leptin, discovered blood groups, showed that viruses can cause cancer, founded the modern field of cell biology, worked out the structure of antibodies, devised the AIDS "cocktail" drug therapy, and developed methadone maintenance for people addicted to heroin. Throughout Rockefeller's history, 24 scientists associated with the University have received the Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine and chemistry, and 21 scientists associated with the University have been honored with the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award. Eighteen Rockefeller University scientists have received the Canada Gairdner Award, and 20 have garnered the National Medal of Science. Currently, the University's award-winning faculty includes five Nobel laureates, seven Lasker Award winners, 10 Canada Gairdner Award honorees, and three recipients of the National Medal of Science. Thirty-five of the faculty members are elected members of the National Academy of Sciences, and 17 are members of the Institute of Medicine. For more information, go to

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