Education Philanthropy
AP_800622044632.jpg Mel Evans/AP

Rowan University paleontology students and volunteers dig at Fossil Park.

October 17, 2016

Rowan University receives $25 million donation to expand Fossil Park

A generous donation will help Rowan University expand and preserve a park where thousands of dinosaur fossils have been discovered, the school announced Monday.

Jean and Ric Edelman, graduates of the school, gave $25 million to transform the New Jersey school's Fossil Park. The gift is the second largest in school history, behind only the $100 million donated by Henry and Betty Rowan in 1992.

The 65-acre park, located in Mantua Township, was purchased by the school in January for $1.95 million. Researchers have unearthed fossils from the Cretaceous Period, which lasted 145 million to 66 million years ago, at the site.

The school hopes the park will attract students and families to participate in paleontological digs. Plans include building a musuem, a visitor center, a fossil preparation lab, a nature trail and other social spaces.

Jean and Ric Edelman, who met on the school's campus in 1977 when they were students, have sought to support access to science through their philanthropy. Previously, the couple gave Rowan University $1 million in 2002 to fund the school's planetarium.

The school will rename the park the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University.