Hopkins school receives big gift Anonymous alumnus' $15 million donation is med school's largest

November 26, 1996|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,SUN STAFF

Research into fundamental scientific questions at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has received a $15 million shot in the arm from one of its alumni.

The gift of stock is the largest in history to the School of Medicine, and the sixth largest to the university.

It is also the largest donation in support of basic science research since the current Hopkins Initiative campaign was launched in 1994, school officials said. It brings the total raised for basic science to $26 million.

The donor, who asked Hopkins not to reveal his name, joins a growing list of multimillion-dollar philanthropists who have helped raise more than $634 million so far for the six-year, $900 million campaign.

"This exceptional challenge gift reflects a deep appreciation of, and support for, the way in which fundamental new knowledge originates," said Dr. William Agnew, director of physiology at Hopkins.

In the past, the school of medicine has relied on federal grants and clinical revenues to support the research by its chemistry, physiology and pharmacology faculties, who build the foundation for future medical discoveries.

Now, the government is targeting more of those federal dollars toward research that holds more immediate promise of finding cures for major diseases. Hopkins is turning increasingly to private donors to support research with longer time frames.

Of the $15 million this latest donor has promised to the school, $5 million was designated as a challenge grant to support renovations of Hopkins' labs. It will be made available as the school raises matching dollars from other donors.

So far, school officials said, $2.1 million in matching funds have been raised from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Robert R. Lindgren, vice president for development and alumni relations, said the renovations, set to begin in January, would cost $11 million and would affect three of the five buildings on the East Baltimore campus that house the basic science laboratories.

"We hope to bring [the labs] up to the state of the art, and so that they will be commensurate with our faculty, who are working at the cutting edge of basic medical science," he said.

The anonymous giver's remaining $10 million is to become an endowment in support of the development of the school's research faculty.

"If we are to recruit and fund faculty with promising new approaches to research problems, these funds are critical," said Dr. Edward D. Miller, interim dean of the medical school.

The faculty development money, Lindgren said, will provide "seed money" for research by young faculty, and allow others to seek whatever training or other assistance they need to maintain their "cutting-edge focus.

"It's really somewhat unique and really terrific in that way," he said. "Our donor is really concerned that we help remove impediments to our faculty doing great research."

The anonymous gift to Hopkins comes in the wake of a $2 million donation made recently by Dr. Thomas Maren, a 1951 medical school graduate, to establish an endowed professorship in pharmacology.

Maren, a professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, helped to develop two drugs now used to treat glaucoma. Lindgren said Maren's gift was a donation of a portion of his royalties from the drugs' sales.

The $900 million goal of the initiative is split almost exactly evenly between the medical institutions -- the medical school and The Johns Hopkins Hospital -- and the other parts of the university. Officials said that hitting those goals would depend not only on weighty donations, like yesterday's mystery contribution, but on less splashy but equally vital gifts of a million dollars or more.

For example, Hopkins recently announced a $1 million gift from the Charles Crane Family Foundation to establish a visiting professorship in Judaic studies at the university's Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. The late Charles Crane was a Baltimore real estate developer.

Major gifts to Hopkins

$55 million: Michael R. Bloomberg, 1995

$50 million: Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, 1992

$20 million: Champlin and Debbie Sheridan, 1992

$20 million: Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, 1995

$17.7 million: Estate of Glenn Stewart, 1982

$15 million: Anonymous medical school alumnus, 1996

$14.6 million: * Elizabeth Banks and family, 1989

$10 million: Lenox D. Baker Jr. and Frances Watt Baker, 1996

$10 million: Anonymous family gift for cancer center, 1995

$9.8 million: Anonymous faculty member, 1986

$8 million: Estate of Kate Macy Ladd, 1984

$5.1 million: Estate of Carlos E. Twichell, 1994

$3.8 million: Estate of Johns Hopkins, 1874

* Real estate

Pub Date: 11/26/96

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