News Release

December 14, 2010

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

UConn Announces First Philanthropic Gift for Stem Cell Research

FARMINGTON, CONN. – The University of Connecticut has received its first major private gift for stem cell research through Our University. Our Moment. The Campaign for UConn. Alumnus Edmund A. Grossman and his wife, Arlene Petroff Grossman, of New York City, have committed an irrevocable estate gift of $700,000 to support stem cell research at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, Conn. In gratitude, the university has named the auditorium in the new Cell and Genome Sciences Building in their honor.

“The University of Connecticut has been a national leader in the area of stem cell research, and the generous support of Edmund and Arlene Grossman will help us immeasurably to expand our work in this vital area,” said University of Connecticut Interim President Philip E. Austin. “Our faculty’s research in this field is emblematic of the university’s role in expanding the frontiers of knowledge in areas of critical importance to the people of Connecticut and far beyond.”

“This is such an incredible time in medical research that it behooves those of us who can to provide for the gains. The implications are mindboggling. The good that could be done with stem cell research far outstrips anything else we could do to help mankind,” said Grossman.

The Grossmans, both cancer survivors, want to support research that has the greatest potential to treat and cure diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which have affected close friends of theirs, as well as cancer.

Grossman is the retired founder, president and CEO of Marketing Resource, a wholesaler of general merchandise closeouts and book remainders, which he sold in 2008. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from UConn, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, in 1957 and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1959. Mrs. Grossman served as director of home fashion for JC Penney in the 1980s, and then as vice president of Marketing Resource.

The Cell and Genome Sciences Building is the new home of the UConn Health Center’s stem cell research operations. The 117,000-square-foot former research facility was purchased in 2007, and underwent a $52 million renovation, earning LEED silver certification, before opening in fall 2010.

The state-of-the-art facility hosts the Stem Cell Institute, the Department of Genetics and Development Biology and the R.D. Berlin Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling. Additionally, it includes incubator space for businesses to commercialize stem cell research and development. The building brings together faculty from across the Health Center and the greater University—including geneticists, chemists, cell biologists, physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists—with industry leaders and entrepreneurs to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration and innovation.

“Ed and Arlene Grossman share our vision and believe in the UConn Health Center’s promise to be a world leader in stem cell research. Their support will help us attract preeminent faculty and translate discoveries made in the lab into new therapies and cures,” said Marc Lalande, Ph.D., director of the Stem Cell Institute and senior associate dean for research planning and coordination at the UConn Health Center.

Since the state of Connecticut enacted legislation in 2005 to award $100 million over 10 years to spur advancements in stem cell research, the Health Center and the greater university have won more than $24 million for cutting-edge projects through a competitive grant process. UConn has also received more than $4 million in federal funding.

A dedication ceremony for the 100-seat Edmund and Arlene Grossman Auditorium was held during the Cell and Genome Sciences Inaugural Symposium on December 9.

“We were thrilled Ed and Arlene Grossman could be here for the first of many important symposia held in the new Grossman Auditorium,” said Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “Funding is essential to continuing and expanding our critical stem cell research. We are extremely grateful to Ed and Arlene for their leadership and their investment in our future.”

For more information about UConn’s stem cell programs, please visit

Caption: Alumnus Edmund A. Grossman and his wife, Arlene Petroff Grossman, attend a dedication ceremony for the Edmund and Arlene Grossman Auditorium in the new Cell and Genome Sciences Building at the UConn Health Center on December 9. The Grossmans were honored for making the first major private gift for stem cell research to the UConn Health Center.

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