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Maximum generosity: $20 million pledged for new residence halls

image: Campus NewsMax Palevsky, PhB'48, SB'48-a noted art collector, campaign-finance reform activist, and the director emeritus of Intel Corporation-has pledged a gift of $20 million for the new, in-progress undergraduate residence halls (see "College Report," p. 31). In recognition, the U of C announced in June that it will name the buildings (to open in autumn 2001) the Max Palevsky Residential Commons.

"Max Palevsky's generous commitment to the University will make an enormous difference to generations of our students, enhancing their world-class education with an equally fulfilling residential life at the heart of campus," said President Hugo F. Sonnenschein. "It is an honor to show our lasting gratitude to Max, a friend, alumnus, and former trustee who exemplifies the intellectual values of our university."

Designed by Ricardo Legorreta, the $53-million Palevsky Commons will house a foreign-language media center, computer rooms, soundproof music-practice rooms, and accommodations for more than 700 students.

"For most students, college is the first time they've lived away from home," said Palevsky. "In this society there often are not sufficient structures for young people, and I trust it will be an important thing to live in a structured, intellectual community. I'm very happy to be able to make that possible for future generations of University of Chicago students."

With bachelor's degrees in mathematics and philosophy from Chicago, he added that his gift is a way "to show my appreciation for what the University of Chicago did for me. It was the crucial experience of my life." Palevsky was introduced to the U of C during World War II, when he attended meteorological school on campus as an Army officer. The son of immigrants, he grew up in Chicago's Logan Square area. After the war, he enrolled on the GI Bill, drawn to an environment that "gave me an enthusiasm for all that is out there in the world."

That enthusiasm has been divided among technology, politics, art, and philanthropy. Early in his career, Palevsky left Packard Bell and, with 11 other scientists, founded Scientific Data Systems in 1961; in 1969 Xerox Corporation bought the company for more than $900 million. Palevsky went on to chair Silicon Systems and then Daisy Systems Corporation. An investor in the high-tech industry since the 1950s, he was a founder and one of the first major investors in Intel Corporation, where he served as director from 1968 until his retirement last April.

The California resident has long been active in politics, recently making headlines after giving $1 million to support Proposition 25. Newsweek quoted him: "I am making this million-dollar contribution in hopes that I will never again legally be allowed to write huge checks to California political candidates." (The campaign-finance reform initiative was defeated in March.) He also organized Tom Bradley's first successful campaign for mayor of Los Angeles.

An art collector, he established the Palevsky Design Pavilion at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, built an Arts & Crafts collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and donated $1 million to help establish the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

He has maintained a close relationship with the University, creating the Palevsky Professorship in History and Civilization in 1972 and the Palevsky Faculty Fund in 1996. A U of C trustee from 1972 to 1982, he also funded the Max Palevsky Cinema, the campus movie theater and auditorium run by the Documentary Film Group.

  AUGUST 2000
  > > Volume 92, Number 6

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The joys of summer
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Class actions
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Death in tenure?
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Daylilies of the field

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