updated 3/20/2006 6:49:07 PM ET 2006-03-20T23:49:07

Columbia University has received a record $200 million from the widow of a distinguished graduate that will be used to establish a center devoted to the study of the brain, school officials announced Monday.

The donation from Dawn Greene and the Jerome L. Greene Foundation is the biggest gift ever received by the Ivy League university and one of the biggest private donations to higher education in 40 years.

The Jerome L. Greene Science Center will study such disorders as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, dementia and schizophrenia. It will be led by neurobiologist Thomas Jessell and Nobel laureates Richard Axel and Eric Kandel. Greene, who graduated from Columbia College in 1926 and from the university’s law school in 1928, was a lawyer and real estate investor. He died in 1999.

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