$15 million Soffer gift to Brandeis is largest-ever from an alum

donald soffer '54Fittingly, another piece of real estate on the Brandeis campus will bear the name of Donald Soffer ’54.

The internationally prominent real estate developer recently made a $15 million commitment to support the sciences at Brandeis. To recognize the gift, the largest ever from a Brandeis alumnus, the entrance hall in the Carl J. Shapiro Science Center will be named the Donald Soffer ’54 Atrium.

“We thank Don Soffer for this generous gift, which will continue to keep Brandeis in the forefront of scientific research and teaching for many years to come,” said Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz, PhD ’72.

The gift supports The Campaign for Brandeis’s science initiative, an effort to fund endowed professorships, student fellowships, and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. The centerpiece of the initiative is the 175,000-square-foot Shapiro Center, which is expected to be ready for occupancy in January 2009.

Soffer is the founder of Turnberry Associates, one of America's premier real estate development and property management companies. The Florida-based firm has developed more than $7 billion in commercial and residential property around the country. Soffer’s most notable development was transforming a mosquito-infested swamp in South Florida into the City of Aventura, one of Florida's most prestigious addresses.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to help Brandeis in this way,” Soffer said. “Brandeis was a very important part of my life – it brought me to another level intellectually and socially. Brandeis is an example of the best in education, and I want to do what I can to keep it at that level.”

Soffer’s gift puts Brandeis on the verge of reaching the $770 million goal of the extended Campaign for Brandeis one year ahead of schedule. Through Feb. 28, the Campaign had raised $765 million, 99.4 percent of goal.

“It is apt that a gift from an alumnus has put us so close to the target since the Campaign has so energized and unified Brandeis’s alumni,” Reinharz said.

Soffer, who attended the University on a football scholarship, has supported a number of important initiatives at Brandeis, including the Donald Soffer Academic Court at the International Business School, the Soffer Men’s Locker Room at the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center, and the Donald Soffer ’54 Endowed Scholarship.

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