Before hundreds gathered in Rowan University’s Science Hall on Oct. 17, 2016, alumni Jean and Ric Edelman announced a landmark gift that will impact scientific discovery and science education for generations.
The Edelmans pledged $25 million to expand and preserve the Rowan University Fossil Park in Mantua Township, N.J.
The Fossil Park will be known as the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University.
A place in history
The Edelmans’ gift is the largest from alumni in Rowan’s history. It is the second largest gift to the institution to date. In New Jersey, Rowan leads the way with three of the top five gifts given to a state college or university. The other gifts to Rowan include $100 million given by Henry and Betty Rowan in 1992, the Edelman gift, and $15 million given by the Henry M. Rowan Family Foundation in 2014.
Keenly interested in supporting science and science education through their philanthropy, Jean and Ric to date have given more than $26 million to Rowan to advance access to science for people of all ages.
In 2002, they gave $1 million to establish the Edelman fund in support of Rowan’s planetarium, which bears their name. Four years later, they established a program that allows elementary schools to bring students to the facility—free of charge—to experience astronomy programs that enhance their classroom work.
Through their generosity, nearly 60,000 individuals to date have attended shows at the Edelman Planetarium. More than 6,000 K-12 students annually visit the venue to learn about the solar system, space and beyond.
In 2010, the Edelmans donated more than $240,000 to fund the instrumentation for a full-dome digital projection system at the planetarium, ensuring that the facility remains a leader in astronomy education. At 102 seats, the planetarium is the largest in South Jersey.