Donation helps along new science building

By Eugene Tetlow, Collegian Correspondent

The plan to build a new $80 million, 140,000-square-foot science building at the University of Massachusetts has received a huge boost with the donation of $2 million from two husband-wife alumni teams.

To make the project a reality, UMass is hoping to raise $20 million in private funds and sees this donation as a step in the right direction.

The $2 million pledge was made by Kathleen and Robert Mahoney, who both graduated in 1970, and Barbara and Richard Mahoney, who graduated in 1955.

“The Integrated Science Building will place UMass in the forefront of research institutions that are making valuable discoveries by breaking down the artificially created barriers between chemistry and the life sciences,” said Richard Mahoney, a distinguished executive in residence at the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government and Public Policy at Washington University in St. Louis and retired chairman and chief executive officer of the Monsanto Company. “It is a sobering thought that we are only now following the lead provided by nature – mankind, animals and plants got there first.”

The four donators were the first generation of their families to attend college and see the new science-building project as a way to give back to the college.

“For the Mahoney brothers, UMass was our only hope for a college degree,” Richard Mahoney said. “As President Bulger says about UMass, ‘It’s all there.’ UMass was there for the Mahoneys and through this gift, I know it will continue to be there for young scientists in the years to come.”

Chancellor Lombardi received the donation thankfully.

“The Mahoney family has made an important and direct contribution to the core function of the University – teaching and research,” he said. “Our students and faculty, and the citizens of Massachusetts, will be the beneficiaries. The Mahoneys have planted a seed that will grow into a cornerstone of UMass-Amherst’s academic imperative. We are delighted and thankful, and we will honor this generosity by carefully nurturing the Integrated Science Building to its full potential.”

“We are forever grateful for the gifts that the Mahoney family has provided to the University of Massachusetts,” University of Massachusetts President William Bulger said. “This family has demonstrated, time and again, an appreciation of the educational opportunity that the University of Massachusetts provides to its students. This gift will create opportunities for a new generation.”

The aim of the project is to harness the campus teaching and research expertise in the fast-emerging life sciences. It is hoped that interdisciplinary teams of students and researchers in chemistry, biology, animal science, neuroscience and other disciplines will come together in the facility’s classrooms and laboratories to teach, learn and discover.

Both Robert and Richard Mahoney were chemistry majors, which was one of the main reasons that they saw this project as being one to invest in.