December 12, 2005 -- The Ivy Foundation of Charlottesville has given $45 million to the University of Virginia Health System to expand laboratory space for biomedical research and to speed the translation of new discoveries into effective treatments and cures. The gift also will support new facilities for clinical research and patient care in the areas of cancer and children’s health.
One of the largest contributions in U.Va.’s history, and the largest ever designated specifically for medical research and clinical applications, the gift comes at a time when the University is striving to build world-class programs in key areas of science. By addressing a critical need for research facilities, especially for research that can lead to new drugs and therapies, the gift helps clear one of the greatest obstacles facing this effort.
“The timing of the Ivy Foundation’s gift could not be better,” said University President John T. Casteen III. “As we embark on an ambitious plan to strengthen the research enterprise and to use our discoveries to address health care needs in our community and around the globe, this gift moves us dramatically closer to our goals. All who will benefit from the work of our researchers and clinicians owe a debt of gratitude to the Ivy Foundation and its commitment to advancing biomedical science.
“It is a coincidence, but one of the happiest kind, that this gift comes just as Gov. Mark Warner has announced the state’s new initiative to build research strength as a cornerstone of state policy for higher education,” Casteen added. “Other states, including both Maryland and North Carolina, are far ahead of Virginia at this time. To capture jobs, companies and public benefits like those that have gone to those states since Virginia backed away from supporting research in 1990 will make the difference between stagnation and prosperity in the future. And the Ivy Foundation’s gift means that in this new state policy context the benefits of research to support human health and clinical applications of this research will begin here, at the University.”
The $45 million gift will support three high-priority building projects in the Health System and will provide the following:
- $25 million for a new translational research facility that will encourage collaboration among investigators and clinicians and house programs that convert laboratory findings into new treatments, new medicines and new methods of prevention and early detection of disease;
- $15 million for a new outpatient facility for the U.Va. Children’s Hospital that will bring many of the clinical services for children and families together under one roof; and,
- $5 million for a new clinical cancer building that will support new, more personalized approaches to cancer care.
All three of the new buildings will benefit the University’s efforts to improve basic and clinical research programs and to give patients greater access to clinical trials of promising new therapies.
Chaired by William C. Battle, an alumnus of the University of Virginia’s College of Arts and Sciences (1941) and School of Law (1947) and former chairman and CEO of Fieldcrest Mills, the Ivy Foundation was created in 2000 with funds remaining from the closure of the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. Since then it has been a generous benefactor of the University’s biomedical programs, providing funds for endowed professorships in pediatrics and fellowships for researchers in the basic medical sciences, among other areas.
With this new contribution, the largest capital gift in the history of the University of Virginia Health System, the foundation sets the pace for a $500 million fund-raising campaign just beginning for the Health System. This effort will be part of what is expected to be a $3 billion campaign for the University scheduled for its public launch in September 2006.
“The Ivy Foundation has taken a bold step that will define the course of philanthropy for our programs and transform the way we do research at the University of Virginia,” said Arthur Garson Jr., vice president and dean of the School of Medicine. “I am particularly grateful to Bill Battle, the foundation chair, who seized the vision and made this happen.”
Battle and Garson are both members of the Ivy Foundation’s board of trustees. Other members include William Black, Sheridan G. Snyder, Patricia J. Edgerton, Aaron Shatkin and Dr. Robert W. Battle.
“Our hope is that the University of Virginia will become a world leader in conducting research that leads directly to improved patient care,” William Battle said. “With first-rate laboratory and clinical space, the University can attract the talented researchers and clinicians who will make this possible. We also encourage other donors to follow our lead and to add their support to these projects. These facilities will be enormously beneficial to people across the state and across the country.”
The foundation’s gift to the U.Va. Children’s Hospital pays tribute to Battle and his wife, Barry, who have been longtime champions of children’s health in the region. Mr. Battle chaired the University’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign between 1981 and 1984, and Mrs. Battle has helped attract private support for the U.Va. Children’s Hospital for some two decades.
“Barry and Bill Battle have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the U.Va. Children’s Hospital and to encourage others to follow their lead in improving the lives of children and their families in our region,” said R. Edward Howell, vice president and chief executive officer of the University of Virginia Medical Center. “Thanks to their support and this exceptionally generous gift, we will create an environment uniquely suited to delivering comprehensive care to children. The result will be greater convenience for parents and families, and better outcomes for young patients.”
Similarly, Howell explained, the new clinical cancer center will be organized so that all disciplines and services can be easily brought to the patient to provide sophisticated, tightly integrated and individualized care. The facility also will be designed to take advantage of future advances in cancer therapy, such as treatments created for the specific molecular and genetic makeup of each patient.
The foundation made its gift to the clinical cancer center to honor Emily Couric, the late Virginia senator, and her advocacy for providing new resources for the treatment of cancer in the commonwealth, including access to clinical trials close to home. Before losing her personal battle with pancreatic cancer, she invited the University to envision a cancer center that met the individual needs of each patient and that treated the whole person, not just the disease.
“The Ivy Foundation and its trustees have been invaluable partners in our efforts to develop new models of medical research and patient care that can be emulated worldwide,” Garson said. “With this gift, they have laid the foundation for excellence in our basic and clinical research programs and our ability to take discoveries from the lab bench to the bedside.”