Princeton, N.J. – September 21, 1995 – Financier and philanthropist Ronald O. Perelman has given Princeton University $4.7 million to create a multidisciplinary institute focusing on Jewish studies, the University announced today. The Ronald O. Perelman Institute for Jewish Studies will bring together leading scholars to examine Jewish history, religion, literature, thought, society, politics and cultures, establishing Princeton as a major center for the study of one of the world’s great civilizations.
“Princeton already has considerable strength in this field, “said Princeton President Harold T. Shapiro, “The new Institute that will be created through Ron Perelman’s generosity will not only enrich our own teaching and scholarship but accelerate the growth of Jewish Studies throughout the world.”
The establishment of the Ronald O. Perelman Institute for Jewish Studies reflects Princeton’s strong tradition of interdisciplinary studies as well as its broad commitment to Jewish culture, and will enable the University, for the first time, to offer undergraduate students the opportunity to earn a certificate in
Jewish Studies. The gift from Mr. Perelman, Chief Executive Officer of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, will be used to support a senior faculty position — the Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies — and a wide variety of academic and scholarly activities, including courses, lectures, seminars and conferences that will convene scholars from diverse disciplines to examine a particular aspect of Jewish experience.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to establish this program, which will shape intellectual concepts in the field, promote interdisciplinary research and scholarship, and perhaps most important, bring Jewish civilization to life for Princeton students,” said Mr. Perelman.
The activities of the new Perelman Institute will be launched this spring, with an international symposium on messianism held in collaboration with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Professor Moshe Idel, Chair of the Department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one of the world’s foremost scholars of Jewish mysticism, will present the opening keynote lecture at the symposium — the first of the Institute’s regular conferences on Jewish studies.
The University is committed to raising an additional $4.5 million for the Ronald O. Perelman Institute as part of an upcoming fund-raising campaign to celebrate Princeton’s 250th anniversary. Mr. Perelman is a founding contributor to the campaign, which does not begin officially until November of this year.
Mr. Perelman is well known as an innovative leader and generous supporter of many of the nation’s most prominent cultural and educational institutions. He is President of the Board of Trustees of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and serves on the Boards of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, The University of Pennsylvania and The New York University Medical Center, among others. He is also the founder of the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program, which focuses on the causes and treatment of breast and ovarian cancers.
Mr. Perelman, who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Wharton School, serves as both Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MacAndrews & Forbes, a diversified holding company with
interests in consumer products, entertainment, financial services and publishing. Among many other distinctions, he has been named a member of the French Legion of Honor.
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