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AU Receives $5 Million Gift to Advance Sciences

rendering of the exterior of the hall of science
The Hall of Science will serve as a catalyst for discovery and a groundbreaking space for the university’s community of award-winning scientists and students.

American University announced on September 6 that Board of Trustees member Gary Abramson, SPA/BA ’68, and his wife Pennie Abramson have made a generous $5 million gift to begin construction of the new Hall of Science. This significant philanthropic commitment will advance the sciences at AU and signals the beginning of a new era of momentum in philanthropy to reach AU’s ambitious goals.

The Hall of Science will serve as a catalyst for discovery and a groundbreaking space for the university's community of award-winning scientists and students to address key issues such as climate change, cancer, obesity, and dementia.

Over the past five years, College of Arts and Sciences faculty have grown their research funding by 116 percent, securing 48 unique awards from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. This building will further the AU community's critical work and collaborations with the world's most influential scientific organizations and be a home for the university's fastest-growing area of undergraduate study.

"We are proud to be a part of making the Hall of Science a reality," the Abramsons said of their contribution. "In an ever-changing world, science is essential to how society approaches its greatest opportunities and challenges. AU students and faculty deserve a space that matches their ambition and affords them every opportunity to advance scientific discovery." For decades, Gary and Pennie Abramson have played a significant role in the advancement of American University. Their new $5 million gift will contribute toward creating a space for growth and discovery in the sciences. 

Gary is a current trustee and chairman emeritus of the AU Board of Trustees, having served on the board since 1986 as chair during some of the most pivotal moments in AU's history. In addition to his personal leadership and commitment to AU, the Abramson family has played a critical role in the advancement of the university. Their vision and generosity have ensured AU's success for decades.

The physical manifestation of the Abramsons' philanthropy is present across campus, notably in the Abramson Family Founders Room in the School of International Service, the Abramson Family Plaza at the School of Communication, and the Abramson Family Recital Hall in the Katzen Arts Center. These spaces serve as gathering places, connecting people and ideas. To honor and recognize the Abramsons' commitment to the Hall of Science and the tradition they have established of creating spaces to foster discovery through community, the Hall of Science auditorium will be named the Gary and Pennie Abramson Discovery Hall.

American University's commitment to the sciences is enhancing the student experience, encouraging innovative problem solving, launching new academic programs, and promoting the shared exploration of the most challenging concerns of our time.