By Rachel Leber
NEW ORLEANS — Tulane University in New Orleans announced on Feb. 21 that it received a major donation to support a new School of Science and Engineering building.
The $10 million gift came from Steve and Jann Paul — both Tulane graduates — and is the lead donation in a fundraising campaign for the project. To honor the generous gift, Tulane will name the new science building the Steven and Jann Paul Hall for Science and Engineering.
Dr. Steve Paul is the current president and CEO of Voyager Therapeutics — a clinical-stage gene therapy company, based in Massachusetts — which helps to develop life-changing gene therapies for central nervous system diseases. The new science building is intended to feature the integration of life sciences and physical sciences with engineering, with the hopes of offering breakthrough discoveries, treatments and cures, which makes Paul’s gift a logical one given his line of work.
“If the last 50 years have taught us anything, it’s that the greatest advances happen at the interface of scientific disciplines,” Paul said in a recent statement.
In addition to his role at Voyager, Paul has a particular and possibly more personal interest in contributing to making the new science building a reality. The origins for his inspiration for the gift came from working as an undergraduate in the laboratory of Merle Mizell, a professor at Tulane.
“I look back at those days and see the foundations for my own career, and I want to contribute to similar formative experiences of other students,” said Paul. “I am impressed by the bright, curious and creative Tulane School of Science and Engineering students who I believe deserve the best resources possible.”
The new four-story, 36,000-square-foot science building will be located between Stanley Thomas Hall and Flower Hall on Tulane’s uptown campus and will include classrooms, labs and spaces for student and faculty interaction. Construction on the new building is expected to begin by the end of 2019.
“Dr. Paul is the embodiment of the intellectual entrepreneur,” said Mike Fitts, president of Tulane. “When I think about the vision for Tulane’s future, his career — located at the intersection of health, medicine, science and business — is the epitome of our direction. He understands the promise of Tulane and, in giving back, is helping to ensure we remain a home to innovative discovery and creative exploration.”
The new science building is just the most recent in a lengthy line of new projects at the university. Some other ongoing projects include the creation of a hospitality and entrepreneurship program that will be based at the downtown New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute as well as an expansion project for the A.B. Freeman School of Business at its Goldring Woldenberg Business Complex.
In addition, Tulane’s School of Medicine is opening a workspace for visiting biotech executives. Finally, the university is also in the middle of building a new digital technology center as well as new spaces for medical students.
Since December 2017, Tulane has already raised $820 million to fund university operations, with 14 percent of that allocated to its capital projects. The funds were raised as part of Tulane’s $1.3 billion fundraising campaign.