News & Press

University to Name New Health and Wellness Building In Honor of the Annette and Theodore Lerner Family

WASHINGTON, January – The George Washington University has announced a gift of $5 million from the Annette and Theodore Lerner family. To recognize the gift, GW will name its new fitness and recreation building the Annette and Theodore Lerner Family Health and Wellness Center.

"Ted Lerner and his family have been among our most generous benefactors," said GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. "This latest symbol of their beneficence will be a central part of student life. We've come to learn that a sound body and a sound mind combine to form our best prescription for success."

Mr. Lerner has been one of the most successful real-estate entrepreneurs in the Washington metropolitan area. He developed such successful regional mall projects as Wheaton Plaza and White Flint in Maryland; Tysons Corner Center and Dulles Town Center in Virginia. Lerner got his start in the real-estate business by selling houses to pay for tuition while attending GW. His big break in commercial real estate came in the mid-1950s when he was offered a chance to develop Wheaton Plaza, the area's first suburban shopping center. When it opened in 1960, it was the sixth-largest shopping center in the country.

Today, Ted Lerner serves as principal of Lerner Enterprises, a family-owned and operated organization that has developed high-profile office projects such as Washington Square, The Corporate Office Centre at Tysons II, White Flint North and 7799 Leesburg Pike, and is responsible for leasing and managing millions of square feet of residential, commercial and retail space in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

"As a GW graduate, I am proud to give some of my good fortune back to the University and the community. Many lucky things have happened to me. GW helped me to be ready for that luck," said Theodore N. Lerner.

The Lerner family is a true "GW family," with Ted earning two degrees himself (an AA from the Columbian School of Arts and Sciences and an LLB from the Law School). Of his three children – Mark D. Lerner, Marla Lerner Tanenbaum and Debra Lerner Cohen – two are also GW graduates. Mark earned his bachelor's degree from GW's School of Business and Public Management and Marla earned a law degree. Robert K. Tanenbaum, Marla's husband, also graduated from GW's law school.

The $5 million gift was made through The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation, which was established in 1986 and makes grants to a variety of organizations that support cultural, medical and Jewish concerns. Through the foundation, the Lerners have been one of the most generous families to the University.

In addition to his family's financial contributions to the University, Ted Lerner has served as a member of GW's Board of Trustees since 1986. He also is a past recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

The 188,000 square-foot Lerner Health and Wellness Center (located at 23rd and G Streets, N.W.) opened in the beginning of August and hosts a wide variety of fitness and instructional classes, wellness programs and services and recreational activities. The neo-classic architectural style of the building fits beautifully into the surrounding Foggy Bottom neighborhood and features amenities such as spacious locker rooms, racquetball and squash courts, basketball courts and multipurpose rooms that can be used for a variety of fitness activities.

The facility also features a three-lane lap pool that is expected to be completed by the end of GW's fall semester. Other amenities include a beautiful outdoor terrace, pro shop, juice bar, an Einstein Bagel store and three levels of belowground parking.

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