Long Island University Receives $12 Million Gift, Largest In Its History, From Edmund and Jinny Pratt
Funds From Pfizer's Former Chairman and CEO To Be Used For New Construction and Renovation On All Three Residential Campuses
Long Island University has received a gift of $12 million from Edmund T. Pratt, Jr., the former chairman and CEO of Pfizer Inc, and his wife Jinny. By far the largest single donation in the university's 72-year history, it will be used in equal $4 million allotments for construction and renovation on all three of the Universityís residential campuses -- downtown Brooklyn, C.W. Post in Brookville and Southampton College.
The gift was announced jointly by Eugene H. Luntey, chairman of the board of trustees, and David J. Steinberg, president of the university, at a trustee meeting Tuesday. "This," said Steinberg, "is a transforming gift of grand proportions that will help make our physical plant commensurate to the high quality of our extensive and diverse academic programs. As the eighth largest private university in America, Long Island University must have the capacity to educate its 26,000 students in 21st century facilities. We hope this gift will inspire others to help us."
Pratt worked his way through Duke and the Wharton School of Business, serving both as a trustee and donor. Now, he explained, "We want to support the mission of Long Island University and the momentum it has developed in the last decade. We also want to encourage others to join us in building this great institution."
Said Luntey, a longtime friend of the Pratts who is the retired Chairman, CEO and President of Brooklyn Union Gas Company: "Access to the American dream through higher education is at the core of our mission. For generations to come our students will bless the Pratts for giving them their chance."
Luntey added: "This is a superb boost from people who have a real understanding of how important this university is for Long Island and the New York metropolitan area."
Students will see results of the Prattsí philanthropy almost immediately. The university said it would announce in the next few months the details of plans for enhanced academic and library facilities, increased recreational space and other improvements.
The donation is particularly welcome, Steinberg said, because "Mr. and Mrs. Pratt have been willing to let us use these funds in the ways we deem best for our students." The university believes the gift is the largest single gift to a private college or university based on Long Island.
The Pratts have a long-term interest in Long Island University. Their son Randolf graduated from the C.W. Post Campus in 1976. They are residents of Sands Point, and Mrs. Pratt over the years attended many classes at Post. Mr. Pratt received an honorary degree in 1988 from the universityís Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Brooklyn, and was the vice chairman of the annual John P. McGrath Award benefit in 1990. In 1997, he and his wife donated the Edmund and Jeanette Pratt Lecture Hall in the health sciences building on the Brooklyn Campus.
Pratt was Chairman of Pfizer for more than 19 years and CEO for more than 18, during which the companyís revenue increased sevenfold and its research and global reach expanded significantly. He has served as a director of companies including General Motors, International Paper and the Chase Manhattan Corporation. He and his wife divide their time between Sands Point and Boca Grande, Florida.
Long Island University is a doctoral degree-granting institution. In addition to its residential campuses it encompasses the Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, which educates a quarter of New York Stateís pharmacists, the Friends World Program of global education for social change, and regional campuses in Brentwood, Long Island and Rockland and Westchester counties.