Feeding the Institutional Roots of Life Sciences Clusters

18 Oct 2021


Leave it to a nun to get it done.”

The good sisters have always seemed to have a way of making what seems impossible happen. In 1999, Emmanuel College, a small Catholic liberal arts college in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood, had fewer than 500 students, a dwindling endowment and none of the amenities that attracted students to bigger universities in the Boston college market. The 17-acre campus was in danger of closing when the college’s president, Sister Janet Eisner, brokered a deal.

Located near top hospitals Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the college partnered with Merck, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, which signed a 75-year ground lease with the college in 2000 for $50 million to build a 300,000-sq.-ft. lab building on an acre of campus, opening the new facility in 2004.

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