Weill Cornell Medical College Receives $100 Million Gift from Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation to Launch New Capital Campaign

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$300 Million Driving Discoveries, Changing Lives Campaign to Speed Research Advances from Bench to Bedside

Weills' Donations to Weill Cornell and Cornell University Top $600 Million

New York, NY (September 10, 2013) — Weill Cornell Medical College announced today that it has received a $100 million gift from longtime benefactors Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation to launch the Medical College's $300 million Driving Discoveries, Changing Lives campaign dedicated to using the most advanced scientific approaches to rapidly translate research breakthroughs into innovative treatments and therapies for patients.

"We are profoundly appreciative of the generosity of Joan and Sandy Weill, and of all our loyal donors who are committed to advancing medical discoveries and, above all, making a difference in our patients' lives," says Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "It is incumbent upon us to find therapies and cures for the world's most intractable diseases, and the Weills' phenomenal leadership and unwavering support will ensure that we enhance the health of our patients for future generations."

"Advancing Weill Cornell's mission would not be possible without the extraordinary leadership and support of Joan and Sandy Weill," says David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University. "It's critical to recognize the need to support student scholarship as a way for us to attract the next generation of physicians and scientists who will truly drive discovery and change lives."

The Driving Discoveries, Changing Lives campaign will bring to fruition Weill Cornell's vision for the Belfer Research Building — opening in January — as a hub for multidisciplinary biomedical research and recruit the world's best and brightest scientists to advance research and treatment of some of the most formidable health challenges, including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and Alzheimer's diseases. Funds raised by the campaign also will support the education of Weill Cornell's students, who as the next generation of physicians and scientists will pioneer medicine's newest frontiers.

The Weills' transformative $100 million gift is devoted to a new center that will investigate diabetes, obesity and metabolic disorders: the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Center for Metabolic Health. Weill Cornell has received more than $50 million in additional gifts for the Driving Discoveries, Changing Lives campaign, bringing it halfway to its total campaign goal.

"Joan and I have had the honor and privilege to contribute to Weill Cornell Medical College, helping to sustain this extraordinary institution as one of the world's leaders in biomedical research," says Mr. Weill, chairman of the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers. "We are immensely proud of what Weill Cornell has achieved — and what more we can accomplish in the years to come."

Driving Discoveries, Changing Lives

The Joan and Sanford I. Weill Center for Metabolic Health will employ cross-disciplinary expertise and cutting-edge technology against diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Weill Cornell scientists are using stem cells, cellular and molecular biology, genetics, proteomics, biorepositories and nutritional research to understand the molecular underpinnings of these diseases and then translate these discoveries into new therapeutic approaches. All the while, they are encouraging behavioral changes to enhance health.

The campaign will support the medical college's unique research and clinical activities around the most pressing public health scourges of the 21st century — chronic diseases that have eclipsed infections as the leading causes of illness and death. Campaign disease and research priority areas include:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome
  • Neurological disorders
  • Children's health and internal medicine
  • Precision medicine
  • Regenerative medicine

The Weills' generous philanthropy and enduring dedication to advancing medical discoveries have left an indelible mark on Weill Cornell and the patients it serves, beginning with their groundbreaking $100 million gift that in 1998 renamed the institution Weill Cornell Medical College. Just four years later, the Weills gave another $100 million gift to support the Advancing the Clinical Mission capital campaign, launched to transform the patient experience and enhance medical education. And in 2007, to further the Discoveries that Make a Difference campaign and position Weill Cornell at the vanguard of biomedical research, the Weills pledged an unprecedented $250 million. That gift is believed to be the single largest ever given to a medical school and was notably fulfilled with a cash payment in 2009 — a time of global economic instability. With today's gift, the Weills have given more than $600 million to Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell University. The Weills' total philanthropy is now approaching $1 billion.

"Joan and Sandy's philanthropy inspires others to invest in science and medicine that will transform health in the 21st century," says Robert J. Appel, a member of the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers and co-chairman of the Driving Discoveries, Changing Lives campaign. "The immense generosity of all of our donors will enable Weill Cornell to maximize its impact on education, research and patient care."

"We are incredibly excited to have hit the halfway mark in this essential campaign," adds Jeffrey Feil, a member of the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers and co-chairman of Driving Discoveries, Changing Lives. "There is no greater need than speeding medical discoveries made at the bench to effective and innovative treatments at the patient's bedside."

In addition to biomedical research, the campaign is dedicated to enhancing medical education at Weill Cornell through student scholarships, support for faculty engaged in teaching medical students, augmenting the clinical experience and buttressing research technologies and services.

Bridging Discoveries

This campaign follows the successful, recently completed Discoveries that Make a Difference campaign, which raised $1.3 billion in less than seven years and included 152 gifts of $1 million or more. That campaign — believed to the largest fundraising effort ever undertaken by a medical school when it was launched in 2006 — will enable Weill Cornell to rapidly translate breakthrough research findings into the most advanced therapies for patients, with the Belfer Research Building as the headquarters for these translational medical initiatives.

The Discoveries that Make a Difference campaign facilitated the successful recruitment of the world's best and brightest minds, whose pioneering research has led to new insights into the biology of disease and cutting-edge therapies. Among those scientists are cancer researchers Dr. Cantley, Dr. Ari Melnick and Dr. Paraskevi Giannakakou, as well as neuroscientist Dr. Gregory Petsko. Dr. Cantley discovered a signaling pathway that explains the growth of cells in prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. Dr. Melnick is decoding the instructions that guide a cancer cell's behavior to better understand why tumors behave the ways they do. Dr. Giannakakou's research focuses on cancer biology and how chemotherapy attacks tumors. And Dr. Petsko is studying the behaviors of enzymes to uncover what causes Alzheimer's disease. This new campaign will continue Weill Cornell's efforts to attract top-tier scientists who are making tangible advances on these health priorities.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Cornell University is the first in the U.S. to offer a M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with Houston Methodist Hospital. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.

Updated January 2014

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