Sarah and John Lechleiter gift $20M for new science facility at Xavier University 

Dec 15, 2022

CINCINNATI – Xavier University today announced a $20-million transformational gift from Sarah and John Lechleiter to help establish a state-of-the-art science facility on its campus. The gift ensures future generations of Xavier students will benefit from a cutting-edge learning experience in the sciences.


“Through their generosity, the Lechleiters have provided Xavier with an incredible opportunity to enhance our strong programming in the sciences, further elevating our tremendous spires of excellence on this campus,” said Xavier University President Colleen Hanycz, PhD.

The Lechleiters’ support for the University is rooted in their strong belief in the importance of Catholic education, and their desire to secure Xavier’s future for decades to come. The Lechleiters stated, “We have a sincere interest in supporting academic excellence at Xavier in the Jesuit Catholic tradition.”

Having earned a chemistry degree from the University in 1975, John Lechleiter credits his Xavier education for propelling him to an outstanding 37-year career at Eli Lilly and Company. After earning master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard, he joined the company in 1979 as a chemist, ultimately serving as its Chairman, President and CEO until his retirement in December 2016.

Sarah Lechleiter graduated in 1976 from Edgecliff College, a Catholic women’s college that merged with Xavier in 1980, with a degree in sociology and social welfare. She has served on multiple not-for-profit boards in Indianapolis including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana Repertory Theatre and Newfields. 

The Lechleiters’ past gifts to Xavier include a multi-million-dollar endowment for the annual purchase of scientific equipment, the creation of an endowed scholarship and a $1-million gift to Xavier’s Center for Catholic Education. In addition to his philanthropic efforts, John served on Xavier’s Board of Trustees from 2004 through 2014. For his extraordinary contributions, he received the Gallagher Leadership Medallion in 2017 – the University's highest honor – as well as the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011.

“Sarah and John Lechleiter both have had their lives influenced by Xavier University and Edgecliff College, and are examples of the Jesuit Catholic mission of developing Men and Women for Others” said Gary Massa, the University’s Vice President for University Relations. “Their incredible generosity is transformational and will have a lasting positive impact on future generations of Xavier students.”

Xavier University is a private university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing a liberal arts education in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. Founded in 1831, the University is the sixth-longest-running Catholic university in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks Xavier as one of the best universities in the country, while The Princeton Review names it one of the "Best 388 Colleges in America." Follow Xavier on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok

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