Billionaire Ronald Perelman Donates $25 Million for Brown University ‘Arts District’

A prominent art collector, Perelman has held board positions at MoMA and Apollo Theater.

Ronald Perelman (bald middle aged man) smiling and holding a drink
Ronald Perelman in 2017, Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Billionaire Ronald Perelman is donating $25 million to Brown University in order to establish an arts district, the university announced yesterday (April 18).

The Ronald O. Perelman Arts District will represent “where the arts happen” at Brown and will contain the Lindemann Performing Arts Center, scheduled to open in the fall. The district will also include various other performance centers and teaching, gallery, rehearsal and performance spaces.

Perelman’s gift will be included in the school’s “BrownTogether” campaign, which is attempting to raise $4 billion in funds for research, teaching, financial aid and athletics at the university.

“The open-ended concept behind the arts district affirms the arts exist everywhere at Brown, and in fact, migrate wherever Brown’s artists go,” said Perelman in a statement. He is a former Brown trustee and the father of two Brown graduates.

A history of university donations

Perelman, chairman and CEO of holding company MacAndrews & Forbes, has an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion, according to Forbes. A prominent art collector, Perelman has served as a trustee for the Museum of Modern Art, the Apollo Theater and the JFK Center for the Performing Arts.

He’s made significant donations to institutions like Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and gave the lead gift for the Ronald O. Perelman Center for the Performing Arts, located near New York’s World Trade Center and set to open in September.

Perelman has also made donations to universities such as Columbia Business School and the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2018, he pledged $65 million to Princeton University, for a residential college to be named Perelman College. However, his name was later removed from the building after he failed to fulfill any of the payments towards his pledge. While Perelman attempted to negotiate a new payment schedule with Princeton, as reported by the Daily Beast, the university declined his request and terminated the gift agreement in August 2021.

Billionaire Ronald Perelman Donates $25 Million for Brown University ‘Arts District’