Wesleyan Recognizes Boger Family’s $20M Gift with Naming of Boger Hall


Next May, the building located at 41 Wyllys Avenue will be named Boger Hall in honor of the Boger family’s $20 million gift to Wesleyan.


Wesleyan University President Michael Roth ’78 has announced a $20 million gift from outgoing Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Joshua ’73, P’06, P’09 and Dr. Amy Boger P’06, P’09 to the university’s THIS IS WHY fundraising campaign. In recognition of the Boger family’s generosity and leadership, the building located at 41 Wyllys Avenue on the university’s College Row will be named Boger Hall.

The Bogers are the largest donors to the campaign. Their gifts include $11 million to establish the Joshua ’73 and Amy Boger Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship Program, which has already benefited more than a dozen Wesleyan students and will provide access to Wesleyan to many more in the coming years; $3 million to endow the Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, currently held by Professor of Chemistry David L. Beveridge; and $2 million for the Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, P’09 Endowed Fund for Student Research, which provided lead funding for 50 faculty-mentored student research fellowships in 2015.

“It is truly gratifying to honor a family that exemplifies Wesleyan’s ideal of passionate, generous, forward-thinking individuals who believe in the importance of a pragmatic liberal arts education,” Roth said. “The Boger family’s commitment to Wesleyan will provide students now and in the future with an opportunity to face 21st century challenges head-on to make positive and profound changes in the world.”

Speaking about the value of liberal education, Boger said, “In an age of instant information access, the core skills for the 21st century are information curation, critical analysis, and cross-discipline integration. Increasingly, it is apparent that needed progress in complex fields like healthcare innovation requires balance and judgment across technical, social and political areas. Wesleyan excels at offering precisely this kind of broad and deep engagement in our most important human challenges, and it gives Amy and me great pleasure to support this important mission.”

The building at 41 Wyllys Avenue is an iconic part of College Row at the heart of the Wesleyan campus.

The building at 41 Wyllys Avenue is an iconic part of College Row. It was built in 1934.

Joshua Boger has had an extraordinary career as a scientist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. A philosophy and chemistry major at Wesleyan, he founded Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 1989 to, in his own words, “transform the way serious diseases are treated.” Vertex is a member of the S&P 500 and was named by Forbes magazine recently as the No. 15 most innovative company in the world. See how Wesleyan set Boger on his professional path in the 2011 Wesleyan mini-documentary, “Cure Entrepreneur.”

The building at 41 Wyllys Avenue is an iconic part of College Row at the heart of the Wesleyan campus. Built in 1934 to house the university’s squash courts, it was completely renovated in 2012 (see photos here) and now is home to the university’s state-of-the-art Career Center, College of Letters, and Paoletti Art History Wing. This award-winning, LEED “Platinum” certified building will be formally dedicated as Boger Hall in May 2016, as part of the university’s Reunion & Commencement celebration. The ceremony will also mark Joshua Boger’s retirement from the Board of Trustees, on which he has served as a member since 1999 and as chair since 2009.

Drs. Joshua and Amy Boger

Joshua and Amy Boger

Joshua Boger is the founder of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated and retired as the company’s CEO in May 2009, although he remains on the board. He joined Alkeus Pharmaceuticals as executive chairman in May 2012. Prior to founding Vertex in 1989, Boger worked for more than a decade in pharmaceutical research at Merck, where he developed an international reputation as a leader in the application of computer modeling to the chemistry of drug design and was a pioneer in the use of structure-based rational drug design as the basis for drug discovery programs.  He is the author of more than 50 scientific publications, holds 31 issued U.S. patents in pharmaceutical discovery and development, and has lectured widely in the United States, Europe and Asia.

A serious amateur photographer for almost 50 years, Joshua Boger began exploring the world of underwater photography in 2000, with a special emphasis on the reefs off Wakaya, a private island off the coast of Fiji. Since 2014 he has taken that hobby to the professional level, with six one-man gallery shows. A permanent exhibit of 22 of Boger’s photographs, titled “Wakaya Octocorals and Giants,” is on display in the lobby of the Exley Science Center. See photos here.

Boger holds a BA in chemistry and philosophy from Wesleyan and MA and doctorate degrees in chemistry from Harvard University. As an undergraduate at Wesleyan, he was the recipient of many prizes including the Cole Creative Writing Prize, the Hawk Biochemistry Prize, the William Day Leonard Prize for general excellence, and the Wesleyan Memorial Prize for Outstanding Junior.

In addition to his positions as board member of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the executive chair of Alkeus Pharmaceuticals, he is the outgoing chair of Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees, chair of the global board of MassChallenge, vice-chair of the Museum of Science (Boston), and chair of the board of the Celebrity Series of Boston. Boger also serves on boards at the Network for Healthcare Innovation (NEHI) in Cambridge, Mass., where he is chair emeritus; the Board of Fellows of Harvard Medical School, where he is chair emeritus; the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts Foundation; the Science Advisory Council of WGBH (Boston); and the Longy School of Music (Cambridge).

Amy Boger is a professional ceramic artist and owner of Dirt and Light Arts LLC, creating conceptual art that inhabits the border between sculptural and functional ceramics. Her work is known for its humor. She is a retired pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Boger holds a BA in American history and literature from Harvard University and an MD degree from University of Pennsylvania. Learn more at amyboger.com.

About Wesleyan’s THIS IS WHY campaign
More than 34,000 individuals have contributed to Wesleyan’s THIS IS WHY fundraising campaign so far, giving a total of more than $420 million to support access, inquiry, and impact. The campaign ends on June 30. Learn more at thisiswhy.wesleyan.edu.