Durhams support future of science through gift

By giving $250,000 to Cornell’s science facilities project, Thomas Durham ’77 and the Rev. Martha Hemenway Durham ’78 say they are supporting future scientific advances by Cornellians.

Martha Hemenway Durham ’78 and Tom Durham '77
Martha Hemenway Durham ’78 and Tom Durham ’77

“Cornell has contributed many scientists to the nation, especially considering the school’s size. We can contribute even more to that trend of great scientists coming out of Cornell by completing the science facilities project,” said Tom, a Cornell Trustee since 2009. He and Martha were aware that Cornell’s science facilities were ready for upgrades, particularly with advances in science since West Hall was built in 1976.

“In a broad sense I think education is one of the central issues of our time and how we can best address problems we have in society,” Tom added.  “I’m naturally drawn to supporting Cornell, which is part of what put me on the road to success. I have many friends who really profited from their Cornell education.”

Their gift is part of Cornell’s Greater > Than campaign, which includes a $35 million science project that will more than double the college’s STEM space. The four-story Russell Science Center is under construction and will be followed by renovations of West Hall and portions of Law Hall. The college has exceeded $33 million in gifts toward the project in just two years.

“Tom and Martha are committed to the power of a Cornell education and we are grateful for their ongoing generous support,” said Cornell President Jonathan Brand. “Through their leadership gift to the sciences, they are ensuring that Cornellians will continue to contribute scientific advancements.”

Tom holds a law degree from New York University Law School and is retired from Mayer Brown LLP, a global law firm based in Chicago, where he specialized in the litigation of federal tax cases. As a result of his participation in Cornell’s mock trial program, he coaches the mock trial team at Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix. Martha was ordained as a Deacon in 2008 and now serves that role at The Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they reside.

The Durhams have previously supported the renovations of the first-year residence halls, the Garner President’s House, and the Thomas Commons; the Center for Law and Society; and Cornell’s Annual Fund.