Stanley Manne ’52 Research Institute Finishes Construction

Bronx Science’s new university level-research facility is more than just a building: it’s a symbol.


Tamar Padwa

Here is the new the new Stanley Manne ’52 Research Institute.

When you think of notable Bronx Science alumni, several names should probably come to mind. With eight Nobel Laureates, eight Pulitzer Prize winners, and countless leaders in art, science, and business, Bronx Science alumni are  famous for their accomplishments. But recently, one successful graduate became known for something else: his generosity.

Stanley Manne and others were interviewed by local news station Bronx 12 regarding the new building. (Louisiana Stahl)

In November 2022, construction on the new Stanley Manne ’52 Research Institute culminated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for students, faculty, Bronx Science alumni, and New York City public officials. Made possible by the Bronx Science Alumni Foundation and a $22 million donation from businessman and philanthropist Stanley Manne ’52, this project is the largest gift in New York City public school history. 

The lab includes a confocal microscope, which can scan subjects at multiple depths and create useful 3D images for further study. “This will enable students to take their research to the next level,” said William Fernando ’23 (Eyenain Misgar)

The Manne Institute, which began construction last year, will offer students an opportunity to perform long-term experiments in complex fields such as genetics, microbiology, and animal behavior, taking our school’s impressive research programs to the university level. 

The Stanley Manne Institute opening was a super cool opportunity – I feel like a part of history!”said Camila Kulahlioglu ’23, a research student who was also one of this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholars. “I am excited to see the future projects that will arise from it.” 

After graduating from Bronx Science, Stanley Manne received a degree in chemical engineering from Columbia University and a masters in business administration from the University of Chicago. Following a successful career in business, Manne turned his focus toward philanthropy, founding the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, a facility dedicated to battling childhood and adolescent illness. 

Manne was inspired to give back to the Bronx by his brother Louis, whose early success in the family business helped Manne attend Columbia. Louis Manne passed away in 2019 at the age of 100, and Stanley Manne turned his philanthropic efforts where they both grew up: New York.

Manne and the Alumni Foundation wanted this gift to benefit students throughout the Bronx, so along with the building Bronx Science is offering lab access and mentorship opportunities to 4,000 elementary, middle, and high school students of institutional partner schools in the area. 

The ribbon cutting ceremony was preceded by a banquet where students, alumni, and city officials enjoyed a meal and listened to the speakers.
(Tamar Padwa)

“Many lower income families have o send their kids to low funded public schools that provide very lackluster STEM programs,” said Maheen Alam ’25 “This institute will give families an opportunity to send their kids to a nearby program where they will receive a rigorous science education.”

Constructed on the Bronx Science campus  over the course of two years, the Manne Institute houses 11,500 square feet of research space separate from the main Bronx Science building. The lab was designed by Dattner Architects, a professional firm who took special measures to design a building that would fit on the Bronx Science campus.

“When you look at the building it’s hard to know how big it is,” said Brian Nesin, a Senior Partner at Dattner who designed the building. “We wanted it to be kind of scale-less compared to the high school.”

“We worked with Dr. Jean Donahue, the former principal of Bronx Science and a few faculty members, and some people at Rockefeller University who helped us decide what to prioritize for this lab space.”

Stanley Manne’s speech at the ribbon-cutting celebration stressed the vital importance of science education to the future of our world. (Kate Hankin)

Inside are three multidisciplinary lab spaces that can be rearranged to accommodate the needs of different research students. The labs facilitate a variety of experiments in fields ranging from chemistry to molecular biology to genetics. Each lab also comes equipped with a computation room for reviewing data and holding instructional lectures and presentations. 

Besides the general lab spaces, the Manne Institute also has designated rooms for more specialized research. “They had lots of tissue spaces, very advanced confocal microscopes, deep freezers and an ultracentrifuge.” said neuroscience research student Oliver Ryan ’23. “This new building has all the equipment of a university research lab.” 

Four former principals of Bronx Science attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. From the left, Dr. Jean Donahue ’77, Mr. Vincent Galasso, Ms. Valerie Reidy, and Mr. William Stark. (Tamar Padwa)

“This project was a little bit of a hybrid,” said Nesin. “It’s a college level lab, but it’s meant for high school students, so we had to collaborate with the New York City School Construction Authority, who had never really done anything like this. So there were certainly some challenges, but it was also fun.”

The project also had to overcome a world that was still reeling from a global pandemic. At the ribbon cutting ceremony in November, Nesin said, “There were people who I worked closely with on the project that I never met in person until today.” 

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools around New York City are struggling to get back on their feet,” said Alam. “The Manne Institute will help Bronx Science continue to accelerate their already vigorous STEM curriculums, which will allow it to continue to be ranked as one of the top schools in New York City.”

Research students, Bronx Science alumni, and faculty members past and present all attended the opening, which included a speech by Manne in which he stressed the importance of giving back to one’s community. “This place gave me everything,” he said.

The announcement received significant media coverage and even caught the eye of the Mayor’s Office, prompting then-mayor Bill DeBlasio to speak at the start of construction about the importance of the project.

“Thank God for the scientists who can tell us the truth to help us and to protect us so we can move forward,” said DeBlasio. “The next generation of those great scientists is coming from right here – from right here.” 

The generosity of Stanley Manne and the Alumni Foundation demonstrates a commitment to science education and a love of fostering a community. The Manne Institute is not just a building, it’s a representation of the very best that the New York City education system has to offer, and an example for Bronx Science students to be like Stanley Manne and always remember where they came from. 

Thank God for the scientists who can tell us the truth to help us and to protect us so we can move forward,” said former New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. “The next generation of those great scientists is coming from right here – from right here.”