Penn's veterinary school receives $10 million gift

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The University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine recently received a $10 million gift from Vernon and Shirley Hill toward the completion of a new teaching and research center.

The Vernon and Shirley Hill Pavilion, currently under construction, will open in the fall of 2006. It will be the first new building in 25 years at the veterinary school's Philadelphia campus, which is home to the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital for companion animals.

The Hill Pavilion will become the new academic center of the veterinary school. The five-story building will house surgery centers, teaching and library space, research laboratories, and a vivarium—a terrarium for small animals.

Amy Gutmann, Ph.D., president of the university, said the Hills' $10 million donation is the largest gift that the veterinary school has ever received from a living donor.

Dr. Alan Kelly, dean of the veterinary school, said the new building has been one of his primary goals. Vernon Hill said the dean and the staff are on a mission to advance the school's teaching, care, and research goals.

Vernon Hill is founder and chairman of Commerce Bancorp Inc., a multibank holding company with almost 350 offices. Shirley Hill is founder and president of InterArch, an architecture and design firm in New Jersey.