Yale's Biggest Science Project

Name the top science and engineering schools, and Yale University probably won't come until after a second breath, admits Yale President Richard C. Levin. That could soon change. Yale plans to spend $500 million on a sweeping expansion of its science and engineering facilities.

Yale's plan calls for five buildings to be constructed, enlarging the university's total "footprint" by about 25%, says Levin. "We haven't had an expansion anything like this since the 1960s." Three new buildings will be used for state-of-the-art research in chemistry, biology, and environmental science. The fourth will be devoted to engineering, and No. 5 will house classrooms for the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Triggering this flurry of construction was a $24 million gift from John C. Malone, chairman of Liberty Media Corp., who earned a 1963 engineering degree from Yale. While Malone's donation is earmarked for the engineering school, Yale decided it needed to upgrade other departments as well. "The sciences are so interconnected today that it's hard to think about one department without considering the others," Levin explains. Malone's gift is just a downpayment. A fund-raising campaign will be launched to come up with the rest. Its success will determine how quickly Yale can make good on its plans.