October 24, 2000
Volume 47
Number 9


Their Gift to Penn:

A New Home for the LGBT Center 


Penn alumni David Goodhand, C '85 and Vincent Griski, W '85, made history in higher education philanthropy on October 11 as they announced their $2 million contribution to Penn. The announcement took place at a ceremony celebrating the couple's gift and National Coming Out Day, a project sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign that encourages gays to be open and honest about their sexual orientation.

The gift from retired Microsoft executive David Goodhand and life partner Vincent Griski, a former Wall Street financial analyst, will renovate Carriage House, a historic campus structure; it will house the University's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Center--one of the oldest and most active centers of its kind in U.S. higher education. Their gift is the first and largest of its kind to directly benefit an LGBT campus community, and it officially kicks-off a $5 million fundraising campaign to complete the Center's construction and endow its programs.

President Judith Rodin acknowledged their historic gesture, "On behalf of the University of Pennsylvania community, Provost Barchi and I are deeply grateful for Vincent and David's gift. It is indeed gratifying to know that Penn provided the environment that enabled these men to live openly as gay individuals and in a loving relationship. Their gift reflects on that experience while they were undergraduates here, and as a result, the LGBT Center at Penn at Carriage House will provide many generations of students with even better programs and facilities designed to help them achieve their personal authenticity."

"Our gift expresses our warm memories of Penn, where our relationship began, and our belief in the limitless possibilities for lesbian and gay people," said Mr. Goodhand. "The University provided an open, safe environment that allowed us to grow as individuals and together. It is a rare pleasure for us to be able to give back in such a meaningful way, and we applaud President Rodin's and Provost Barchi's commitment to continue a long-standing legacy that welcomes and affirms a diverse campus community."

"It is most fitting to make this announcement on a day that encourages gays and lesbians to be open and honest about who they are," said Mr. Griski. "We hope our gift will urge other gay and lesbian alumni at Penn and elsewhere to give back to their alma mater in ways that are important to them. David and I are happy that our gift will provide a welcoming and safe environment for generations of Penn students to come."

Mr. Goodhand and Mr. Griski are both 1985 graduates of Penn; David R. Goodhand, 37, is retired from Microsoft Corporation where he designed Internet products. His life partner Vincent J. Griski, 36, was a vice president and financial analyst on Wall Street prior to joining Microsoft's treasury department. The couple met in 1983 while undergraduates at Penn. They are actively involved in local and national politics and in philanthropic projects.

The LGBT Center at Penn is among the country's oldest and most active campus centers. In 2002, the Center will celebrate two decades of its mission to increase the Penn community's understanding and acceptance of its sexual and gender minority members. The Center features programs for Penn's LGBT campus community, including outreach and education, special events and public forums, a research and reading room, advocacy, social networking, ongoing communications and individual and organizational support.

The Spruce Street elevation of the new home of the LGBT Center in the historic Carriage House built in 1877, located at 3905 Spruce Street, which will be renovated. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2001, with a grand opening in the spring of 2002.

$17 Million for LRSM

NSF has awarded a five-year, $17 million grant to LRSM, to be matched by approximately $2.1 million in University support. LRSM's $17 million ranks second among 15 centers nationwide receiving NSF funds this year. Established in 1960 as one of the nation's first three interdisciplinary materials research centers, LRSM has been supported by the NSF since 1972.

The field of materials science encompasses an array of research aimed at developing ever-better materials for industrial, medical and consumer use. Some materials researchers, such as Nobelist Dr. Alan MacDiarmid, devote themselves to creating specialized plastics that can conduct current or emit light. Others are creating materials that mimic bodily tissues and other biological matter for transplantation purposes. Yet others are tackling the need for improved electronic and superconducting materials, improved devices for information storage and ways of inducing chemical reactions on a chip.

"The products of modern materials research impact our economy and our everyday lives," said Thomas Weber, director of NSF's Division of Materials Research. "The centers address fundamental science and engineering problems in the creation of new materials. They also provide students a highly interdisciplinary education that is prized by potential employers in industry, academia and government."

LRSM involves 36 researchers from SAS, SEAS and Medicine who work closely with industry and other economic sectors to create new materials that could potentially revolutionize consumer and industrial products.

LRSM's four major areas of research include synthetic protein building blocks known as maquettes, which could pave the way for as-yet-unforeseen types of materials and devices; microscale soft materials that could find applications ranging from switches for the communications industry to controlled-release sensors for consumer products; materials derived from carbon nanotubes, filaments of pure carbon less than one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair that have exhibited strength and electrical properties; and multifunctional complex oxides, novel materials that are sensitive to stress and external magnetic and electric fields.

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 9, October 24, 2000