Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Charles A. Dana (1881-1975), H1964, was a noted industrialist and philanthropist who donated $750,000 to Tufts for the construction of the Dana Biology Laboratories on the Medford campus.
Dana was born on April 21, 1881, in New York City. He received his education at Colombia University, where he received a B.A. and a law degree. After his graduation, Dana worked as a prosecuting attorney for the New York District Attorney's office before moving on to a career in politics. Using the public exposure he gained from his position with the District Attorney, Dana successfully campaigned for a seat in the New York state legislature, where he served three terms. He became a close associate of both New York governor C.E. Hughes and future president Theodore Roosevelt. Dana later managed one of Roosevelt's presidential campaigns.
In 1914, Dana left politics to start an industrial career. By 1946, Dana had established the Dana Corporation, a complex of five auto parts companies that brought in annual revenues of over $150 million. It was with these funds that he started his career as a philanthropist.
Dana became known for his generosity to hospitals and small universities. In 1963, Dana donated $750,000 to Tufts University in order to finance the construction of Dana Laboratories, which was built adjoining Barnum Hall.
Dana died in November 1975 at the age of ninety-four.