McWethy provides investment in science facilities

Jim McWethy ’65, the namesake of Cornell College’s McWethy Hall, has once again stepped forward to make campus facilities state-of-the-art—this time with a major commitment of $365,000 for the Science Facilities Project. Jim McWethy '65

“I knew the college needed a new science building and that it would affect almost every graduate since nearly everyone will have a class in that building,” McWethy said. “The Russell Science Center will be influential in attracting good students and more of them. We’ll be able to leap into the foreground in science quality and state-of-the-art facilities. We’ll be able to compete with anybody.”

McWethy said he was also motivated to give when his classmate, Jean Russell ’65, provided the lead gift of $20 million.

Cornell’s STEM space will more than double as a result of its $35 million science project, part of the Greater > Than campaign. The four-story Russell Science Center, currently under construction, is scheduled to be done by January 2019, and will be 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.

“Jim is one of Cornell’s most enthusiastic supporters, investing in key programs across the curriculum,” said President Jonathan Brand. “We are grateful for this gift, which will help strengthen Cornell’s position as a leader in science education within the liberal arts.”

McWethy majored in economics and business as well as mathematics at Cornell and earned a master’s degree in economics from Indiana University. He was involved in management of his family’s business, Berry Bearing Company, for 23 years and since then has operated as an independent businessman in Downers Grove, Illinois. Among his interests have been agriculture, golf facilities, restaurants, charity, real estate development, and local politics. McWethy received the college’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007 and served as a Cornell trustee from 1995 to 2004.

McWethy’s past gifts have supported the Fine Arts Campaign, including McWethy Hall and the Berry Lobby in Youngker Hall, home of Kimmel Theatre; the Berry Career Institute; renovations of the Garner President’s House and Law Hall Technology Center; and Cornell’s Annual Fund.