McGranes support sciences for future of Cornell

John McGrane ’73 and Martha “Marty” Benson McGrane ’73 are convinced that science is key to Cornell College’s immediate future, even though neither were science majors. That is why they have given $200,000 to name a chemistry lab on the third floor of Russell Science Center.

John McGrane ’73 and Martha “Marty” Benson McGrane ’73
John McGrane ’73 and Martha “Marty” Benson McGrane ’73

“We both went to Cornell, received a first-rate education and lifelong friendships, and want to give something back to the college,” said John. “This project is critical. Growth is absolutely essential for Cornell and you just have to have the facilities. Spending $35 million on improving science facilities provides a significant bump and our expectation is that it will lead to a real boost in enrollment.”

Cornell’s $35 million science project is part of the Greater > Than campaign, which will more than double the college’s STEM space with the construction, well underway, of the four-story Russell Science Center, followed by renovations of West Hall and portions of Law Hall. In two years the college has exceeded $33 million in gifts toward the project.  

“John and Marty are focused on comprehensive growth for the college, and their gift to the science facilities brings us closer to achieving that goal,” said Cornell President Jonathan Brand. “We are grateful for their generosity and their strong advocacy for this college.”

John has served on the Cornell College Board of Trustees since 2001, chairing the board from 2011 to 2017. A native of Waverly, Iowa, he came to Cornell as a first-generation college student. He is a partner in Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, a global law firm, and is a member of the firm’s Energy Practice Group in Washington, D.C. Marty is a past member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Extraordinary Opportunities campaign committee, as well as a former Class Agent with John. She is past-president and serves on the board of directors for 1st Stage Theatre in Tysons, Virginia. Their primary residence is in Bethesda, Maryland.

Marty was a history and art major, while John majored in philosophy and political science at Cornell. After John joined Cornell’s Board of Trustees the couple purchased a home across the street from campus. The chemistry lab they invested in will overlook their Mount Vernon home.

The McGranes have previously supported the renovations of the Garner President’s House and Cole Library; the Berry Center and the Center for Law and Society; land acquisition; and Cornell’s Annual Fund.