Giving to Yale

The Goldman Funds: Jane Goldman Continues a Family Legacy of Giving

Pieter van Dokkum, the Sol Goldman Family Professor, and astronomy Ph.D. candidate Erica Nelson in the control room of the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Photo by Ethan Tweedie.

Yale astronomer Pieter van Dokkum made global headlines in 2010 with the discovery that our universe likely contains three times more stars than previously thought. Using a cutting-edge telescope in Hawaii, van Dokkum and an international team of scientists examined distant elliptical galaxies—between 50 million and 300 million light years away—and found faint signatures indicating an enormous number of previously unseen red dwarfs. These small, dim, and hard-to-detect stars may well have their own orbiting bodies, boosting our estimated count of Earth-like planets by several trillions.

In September 2012, van Dokkum was named the inaugural Sol Goldman Family Professor at Yale, thanks to a generous gift from the Sol Goldman Charitable Trust, under the direction of Jane Goldman P ’14. The $10 million contribution has also endowed a second professorship in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as well as an undergraduate scholarship fund.

Distinguished faculty members like Pieter van Dokkum are among our most valuable resources.

“This magnificent gift is a direct investment in the future of our University,” said President
Levin. “Distinguished faculty members like Pieter van Dokkum are among our most valuable resources, and the Goldmans’ farsighted support for faculty and students will help to secure Yale’s excellence for many years to come. We are tremendously grateful to Jane Goldman and the Goldman family for their continuing devotion to Yale.”   

Jane Goldman P ’14

Far-reaching support for critical needs

Adding to the Yale endowment, the Goldman family gift will grow with the University’s investments and supply funds for faculty and students in perpetuity. President Levin identified new endowments like the Sol Goldman Funds as a top priority during the last year of his tenure. Such contributions not only support core needs, but also relieve pressure on the budgets to be inherited by his successor, President-elect Peter Salovey.

“I am pleased to sustain and advance our family’s strong relationship with Yale and to help enhance the fundamental strengths that make it a globally admired institution,” said Jane Goldman.

Endowed professorships have long helped Yale attract, retain, and honor top scholars. Reflecting a strong commitment to science teaching and research, the Goldman family has requested that one of the Goldman chairs always be held by a scientist.

The Sol Goldman Family Scholarship Fund meets another critical need at Yale: It is now a permanent source of financial aid to undergraduates, with its holders recognized as Goldman Family Scholars. Endowed scholarship funds are key to Yale’s policy of ensuring that admitted students can attend regardless of their financial circumstances. Currently, the payout from endowed funds supplies 47 percent of the $118.5 million budgeted for financial aid in Yale College. Increasing this important resource is an ongoing priority for the University.

A family’s legacy of giving

The Goldman family has generously supported Yale over the course of two decades. In the 1990s, the Lillian Goldman Law Library was rebuilt thanks to a gift from Jane Goldman’s mother, Lillian, a philanthropist who died in 2002. Her husband Sol Goldman was a real estate investor who died in 1987. The Goldman family also endowed the Law School’s deanship and a Law School professorship held today by Jean Koh Peters. The Sol and Lillian Goldman Family Advocacy for Children and Youth Clinic enables Yale law students to represent neglected children in local courts and also engage in general child advocacy activities.

Jane Goldman and her husband, Dr. Benjamin Lewis, a physician and associate clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, further serve the University as members of the Yale Parents Leadership Council. Their son, Michael SM ’14, is also a trustee of the Sol Goldman Charitable Trust; at Yale, he is a member of the varsity golf team.