Hefty gift going to JHU

$100 million headed to undergraduate, medical campuses

February 02, 2006|By LIZ BOWIE | LIZ BOWIE,SUN REPORTER

The Johns Hopkins Institutions are announcing today an anonymous $100 million donation to support a broad range of projects at the medical and undergraduate campuses.

The gift to Hopkins is the largest since 2001, when clothing industry billionaire Sidney Kimmel gave $150 million to the university and the hospital for cancer research and patient care.

"It is an extraordinary gift to Hopkins," said Dr. William R. Brody, president of the Johns Hopkins University.

The private donation will support stem cell research, the renovation of Gilman Hall on the Homewood campus, initiatives at the School of Public Health and the construction of a $275 million Children's Tower at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, which is to begin in June.

The donor wanted to keep private the way the $100 million would be divided among the four projects, officials said.

Hopkins has received two other $100 million gifts, one anonymous and one from Michael R. Bloomberg, the New York mayor and a former Hopkins board chairman.

The university has an endowment of more than $2 billion, officials said.

The latest donation to Hopkins is not a record but is considered a large one for a college or university.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy lists 27 gifts of $100 million across the nation in the past several decades and 30 donations exceeding that amount. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave the largest, $1 billion over 20 years to minority college students.

Brody said of today's gift, "I had something between a heart attack and a stroke when I heard the amount. ... It is something every college president would die for."

Raising money for capital expenses to construct large centers such as the children's hospital has been difficult, said Dr. Edward D. Miller, dean and chief executive officer of Hopkins Medical Institutions. "This will be a gift that will make a lot possible," he said.

The 205-bed children's hospital will replace a crowded facility that doesn't easily accommodate new medical technology or parents who want to spend the night with their children.

The money also will go toward renovations of Gilman Hall, the signature building on the Homewood campus and the main academic center. No major work has been done on the building in decades, Brody said.

Part of the donation will go to stem cell research, which Hopkins would be able to use for purposes including the creation of embryonic stem cell lines for research into treatments for Parkinson's disease, diabetes, heart disease and other ailments.

Scientists at Hopkins and elsewhere say they have felt thwarted by rules imposed by President Bush in August 2001, which prohibit researchers from using federal money for research into stem cell lines that didn't exist before the policy went into effect.

Bush said he wanted to move slowly into embryonic stem cell research, which he said troubled him because it involves the destruction of embryos.

To get around the rules, several states, including California, New Jersey and Connecticut, have funded stem cell research with money from their coffers. In Maryland, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has proposed spending $20 million on stem cell research, although the amount to be used for embryonic stem cell research remains unclear.

How the money will be spent at the School of Public Health has not been determined, Brody said.

liz.bowie@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Jonathan Bor contributed to this article.

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