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Tanenbaum Hall Turns 10 1 - 2 - 3

To correct these deficiencies, Mundheim hired an architectural firm in 1988 to draw up plans for a new building. He wanted something grand, to compete with peer schools, which had gone on a mid-1980s building boom. At the time, law schools such as Chicago and Columbia had libraries two to three times the size of Penn Law’s. To close that gap, a fund-raising campaign commenced in 1989. Mundheim approached Myles Tanenbaum, a successful developer who had built a number of malls in the Philadelphia area, to be the lead donor. Tanenbaum readily agreed.

“I knew that I owed something to that University and particularly to the Law School, where I learned how to think … It’s something that changed my life. And fortunately, I was in a position (to help),” says Tanenbaum, who contributed $5 million of the $23 million construction cost, plus something more – financial savvy that helped bring the building in under budget.

Tanenbaum served as Philadelphia area Co-Chair of the University’s Capital Campaign that included the Law School project. He had discovered he had a gift for fund-raising while he was a student collecting money for new dormitories. Ironically, the dorms were leveled to accommodate Tanenbaum Hall.

The building was named Nicole E. Tanenbaum Hall, in honor of Myles Tanenbaum’s daughter, who had died at 16 from leukemia.

The weekend of the dedication brimmed with excitement, as more than 2,000 people attended the Benefactors Dinner the night before Tanenbaum Hall’s official opening. At the dedication, Myles Tanenbaum overshadowed all of the speakers, including Attorney General Janet Reno, who received the University of Pennsylvania Medal for Distinguished Achievement. When he got up to speak, he was overcome by emotion and wept. “The fact that it bore my last name and my daughter’s name made it very special,” Tanenbaum remembers.

As its 10th anniversary passes, Tanenbaum Hall remains special as well to the few thousand students who have since passed through its halls.

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