Alumnus, trustee Sumers provides lead gift for new welcome center

Gary M. Sumers Welcome Center key component of east end transformation

Gary Sumers photo

Thanks to a $7 million commitment from Washington University in St. Louis alumnus and trustee Gary M. Sumers, the university will have a true starting point for the campus visitor experience.

The Gary M. Sumers Welcome Center, part of the transformation of the east end of the Danforth Campus, will offer visitors and the university community inviting gathering spaces with sweeping views of Brookings Hall and the new east end landscape.

Designed to be an important destination for prospective and current students, the Sumers Welcome Center will be the home for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Student Financial Services. The 25,500-square-foot building also will have a direct link to the new underground parking garage on the east end of the Danforth Campus.

Construction of the Sumers Welcome Center is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

“Washington University is a very special place and has been a defining part of my life,” Gary Sumers said. “I am delighted to be able to support this new building and to play a role in showing visitors and students all that the university has to offer.”

The Sumers Welcome Center is a key component of the overall transformation of the east end of the Danforth Campus.

The comprehensive project, which is to begin in May 2017, includes new academic facilities to support the university’s core missions of teaching and research, as well as expansive green space that better connects academic programs and provides a more inviting, relaxed gathering place for the university community and campus visitors.

“Gary Sumers continues to make a major impact on the Washington University community,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “From providing scholarships to many Washington University students to the significant support that allowed the university to expand our athletic and recreation facilities, Gary is an important part of the future of Washington University. It is truly fitting that his name will be associated with this new building that will welcome and serve students for generations to come.”

About Gary M. Sumers

Now retired, Sumers served as senior managing director and chief operating officer in the Real Estate Group of New York-based Blackstone Group, a leading global alternative asset manager and financial advisory firm. A native of Teaneck, N.J., he was encouraged to attend Washington University by the son of his high school boss, a pharmacist.

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1975 with a double major in history and political science, both in Arts & Sciences, spending his junior year at the London School of Economics. He later earned a law degree at Northwestern University.

Sumers joined the Blackstone Group in 1995 and led the company’s strategic asset management group. He also oversaw financial reporting activities and property disposition activities.

Before joining Blackstone, Sumers was chief operating officer of General Growth Properties, and prior to that worked for JMB Institutional Realty Corp., where he was managing director in charge of asset management. Previously, he had practiced law in Chicago.

He has been an active Washington University alumnus, serving on the Arts & Sciences National Council and the New York Regional Cabinet, among other volunteer roles. He was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award at Founders Day in 2009 and won the 2012 New York Regional Award for outstanding professional achievement and service to Washington University. Most recently, he was named a recipient of the Robert S. Brookings Award, which will be presented to him at the 2016 Founders Day celebration.

For Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University, Sumers serves as a member of the New York City executive committee and as a member of the Arts & Sciences committee.

In 2012, Sumers committed $12 million to help expand and modernize the Athletic Complex at the university, creating the Gary M. Sumers Recreation Center.

Sumers, who grew up in a “solidly middle-class family,” has provided substantial support for scholarships, including sponsoring both an annual and an endowed scholarship in memory of his late mother, Joan. He has been active in the university’s scholarship initiative, Opening Doors to the Future, serving as co-chair of the New York City committee and as a member of the national committee for Arts & Sciences.

Sumers is a life member of the Danforth Circle Chancellor’s Level of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society.

Washington University is counted among the world’s leaders in teaching and research, and it draws students and faculty to St. Louis from all 50 states and more than 110 nations. The total student body is nearly 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
The approximately 3,400 faculty teach in seven schools: Arts & Sciences, Brown School, Olin Business School, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, School of Engineering & Applied Science, School of Law and School of Medicine. Twenty-three Nobel laureates have been associated with Washington University, with nine doing the major portion of their pioneering research there.
The university offers more than 90 programs and almost 1,500 courses leading to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a broad spectrum of traditional and interdisciplinary fields, with additional opportunities for minor concentrations and individualized programs.