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Weill Cornell Names Its Department of Medicine for Joan and Sanford I. Weill

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Joan and Sanford I. Weill

Weill Cornell Medical College has named its department of medicine the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine in honor of the couple's longstanding dedication to the medical college. The naming is in recognition of the Weills' recent $100 million gift — which also established the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Center for Metabolic Health — and their historic $250 million gift to the Discoveries that Make a Difference campaign.

"This is a tremendous moment for Weill Cornell and for its largest department — a moment that will allow us to continue delivering innovative treatments and cures to patients in New York City and throughout the world — and we are grateful to Joan and Sandy for making this possible," said Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell.

Over the last 15 years, Mr. and Mrs. Weill and their family foundation have gifted more than $600 million to Weill Cornell. In 1998, they donated $100 million, after which medical college leaders renamed the institution Weill Cornell Medical College.

The Weill Department of Medicine's mission is to offer and enhance comprehensive patient care programs, shape the next generation of physicians and scientists through modern curriculum, residency programs and fellowships in subspecialty areas of medicine, recruit the top physicians in the world, and fuel research synergies within and between departments. It is led by Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the department's newly endowed Weill Chairman. Weill Cornell is one of only a few medical schools to have a named department of medicine.

"We are honored and deeply humbled to have our name associated with this excellent department," said Mr. Weill, who joined the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers in 1982 and became its chairman in 1995. "The Weill Department of Medicine spans nearly all disciplines and disease areas, with faculty conducting cutting-edge research and outstanding clinical care. It is the embodiment of our vision for collaborative, translational medicine."

the Weill Bugando University College of Health Sciences in Tanzania

Joan and Sanford I. Weill celebrate the inauguration of the Weill Bugando University College of Health Sciences in Mwanza, Tanzania, in 2007.

The largest department at the medical college, the Weill Department of Medicine comprises more than 1,700 faculty members, clinicians and research scientists in 21 divisions, programs and centers that span the disciplines, from cardiology and global health to hematology/medical oncology and nephrology and hypertension. Faculty are also collaborators on the medical college's myriad multidisciplinary translational research centers and institutes, using their expertise to rapidly translate research breakthroughs made at the lab bench into advanced treatments and therapies for patients in the clinic.

"Our renowned faculty in the Weill Department of Medicine are at the front lines of teaching, basic and clinical research, and patient care — making a difference every day," Dr. Choi said. "We are immensely thankful to Joan and Sandy Weill for their generous contributions and devoted support over the years to shape the future of medicine."

Using cross-disciplinary expertise and cutting-edge technology, researchers in the Weill Center for Metabolic Health will strive to understand the basic biology and genetics of diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome, and translate these discoveries into novel therapeutic approaches. Weill Cornell is conducting a national search for a top-tier scientist to lead these efforts. In addition to the center, the medical college also established the Sanford I. Weill Professorship of Metabolic Research.

Under Mr. Weill's leadership, Weill Cornell built the Weill Greenberg Center, its award-winning ambulatory care center, and nearly doubled its research space with the new Belfer Research Building, which opened last month. The medical college has also recruited numerous leading physicians and scientists to investigate new treatments and therapies and apply them rapidly in the clinic, while building bridges nationally and abroad. Weill Cornell forged an affiliation with Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas and, with Cornell University, established a medical school in Doha, Qatar. Cornell is the only such institution to offer its M.D. degree outside of the country. In addition, Weill Cornell established a formal affiliation with Bugando Medical Centre and the Weill Bugando University College of Health Sciences in Mwanza, Tanzania, named in recognition of the support of Joan and Sandy Weill.

For this commitment to global health, the medical college has also named the Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation Global Health Research Laboratories. The new program is designed to expand and enrich Weill Cornell's global health offerings and recruit new scientists who will find new therapies and treatments for the world's most intractable health care challenges.

"Etched in the very fabric that binds Weill Cornell Medical College are Joan and Sandy, magnanimous and visionary, hopeful and humble," Dr. Glimcher said. "From medical education to biomedical research, clinical care to global health, the central current flowing through each prong of the medical college's mission is their dream for a healthier future. This dream is what we strive to realize in everything we do."

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Weill Cornell Opens Its Transformative Belfer Research Building, Empowering Scientists to Speed Discoveries to Patients

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U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer Helps Commemorate Opening of Building that Nearly Doubles Medical College's Research Space, Enhances Student Education

NEW YORK (January 31, 2014) — Weill Cornell Medical College today opened the Belfer Research Building, a state-of-the-art facility that ushers in a new era at the institution for cutting-edge, translational science. The 18-story, $650 million building, made possible through the generosity of numerous donors, nearly doubles Weill Cornell's existing research space and empowers scientists to rapidly translate groundbreaking discoveries into the most advanced patient care.

Weill Cornell hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today in the presence of U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, and New York City Councilman Ben Kallos, as well as Cornell University's Board of Trustees and the Weill Cornell Medical College Board of Overseers, to commemorate the building's opening after seven years of fundraising and nearly four years of construction.

Belfer Research Building

Weill Cornell's new Belfer Research Building

The 480,000-square-foot building, located at 69th Street and York Avenue, is devoted to translational bench-to-bedside research targeting some of the most formidable health challenges of the 21st century, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, children's health, global health and infectious diseases. Its proximity to the adjacent Weill Greenberg Center, the medical college's flagship ambulatory care center at 1305 York Ave. at 70th Street, ensures that breakthroughs made in the laboratory can be quickly and seamlessly applied to patient care as improved treatments and therapies in the clinic. The Belfer Research Building will also serve as a nucleus where physician-scientists, educators, students and researchers from Weill Cornell and around the globe can collaborate on the latest discoveries and research breakthroughs.

"Weill Cornell is an undisputed leader in cutting-edge medical education and research, and I am absolutely certain that the opening of the Belfer Research Building will only add to its sterling reputation," Sen. Schumer says. "It is medical institutions like Weill Cornell that have enabled New York to become a world leader in the medical field, and projects like Belfer that will ensure New York stays at the top."

"The Belfer Research Building is a monumental achievement for Weill Cornell, the city and the state of New York," says Sanford I. Weill, chairman of the Weill Cornell Medical College Board of Overseers. "Through the remarkable generosity of our many donors — we received an impressive 154 gifts of $1 million or more to our campaign, including $100 million from Bob and Renée Belfer, for whom the building is named — Weill Cornell has been able to dramatically expand its research enterprise in record time. This building is a testament to the power of public-private partnerships and the collaborative discoveries it promises will cement our role as one of the world's leading centers for biomedical research."

"Today marks an extraordinary milestone for Weill Cornell," says Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "Our new Belfer Research Building is an inspiring symbol of scientific breakthroughs that can advance patient care, enhance health and change lives. I am deeply appreciative of our loyal donors and friends, distinguished physicians and scientists, and our esteemed government and civic leaders, whose unwavering dedication and support is a testament to this building's promise."

"My wife Renée and I along with our children and grandchildren are deeply honored to have our name associated with such a noble effort and such a remarkable building," says Robert Belfer. "This world-class facility will catalyze biomedical research discoveries and empower Weill Cornell's brilliant scientists and our newest recruits to develop game-changing therapies that can transform human health. It's the embodiment of Weill Cornell's vision and mission, and it's the legacy one hopes for when considering philanthropy."

The Belfer Research Building is the centerpiece of Weill Cornell's Discoveries that Make a Difference campaign, launched in 2006 and successfully completed last year. Of the $1.3 billion raised, nearly $400 million was gifted by more than 100 donors to support construction of the Belfer Research Building, with an additional $152 million dedicated to program support and to endowments and recruitment of leading researchers. Among Weill Cornell's philanthropic support was a $250 million gift from Joan and Sanford I. Weill and gifts totaling $100 million from Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg, his wife Corinne and The Starr Foundation.

The Belfer Research Building

The Belfer Research Building features 13 floors of laboratories equipped with the most advanced research technology.

The Belfer Research Building includes 13 floors of laboratories equipped with the most advanced research technology. Its open floor plan and thematic orientation is designed to break down research silos and foster cross-disciplinary collaboration among Weill Cornell's premier scientists, transforming the paradigm for high-impact translational research. Scientists from multidisciplinary translational research centers and institutes focused on precision medicine, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and the molecular underpinnings of cancer will investigate alongside one another to encourage unconventional partnerships. This new research standard will empower Weill Cornell's world-class scientists and attract additional top-tier talent to the medical college.

Featured research hubs include the Helen and Robert Appel Alzheimer's Disease Research Institute, Joan and Sanford I. Weill Center for Metabolic Health, Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute, Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center and the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine.

"The completion of the Belfer Research Building represents a major expansion of Cornell University's footprint in New York City," says David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University. "It opens the door to an even greater role for Weill Cornell physicians and researchers in benefitting the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers and many others around the globe. I am deeply grateful to everyone who helped make this building a reality, whether by skilled and dedicated work or through visionary philanthropy."

The Belfer Research Building also headquarters the Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute, Inc. (Tri-I TDI), an innovative partnership between Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University and Weill Cornell Medical College that includes Takeda Pharmaceutical Company to expedite early-stage drug discovery into treatments and therapies for patients. In addition, CUNY Hunter College will conduct translational research on the fourth floor of the building, extending Hunter's and Weill Cornell's rich history of public-private partnership and expanding the Upper East Side Medical Research Corridor as a growing powerhouse in the biomedical research sector.

"Because Cornell University has world-class programs in the basic sciences and in medicine, we are in a uniquely strong position to deliver on the great promise of translational research to solve some of the world's most intractable medical problems," says Bob Harrison, chairman of the Cornell University Board of Trustees. "The Belfer Research Building will be a magnet for collaborations between researchers and clinicians from our Ithaca and Weill Cornell campuses, and I have no doubt that the work they do here will be transformative."

"This is clearly a momentous event in the history of science at Weill Cornell Medical College," says Dr. Gary Koretzky, dean of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and senior associate dean for research at Weill Cornell Medical College. "This is an institution that is excellent in its science and we seek to be absolutely outstanding. In our new Belfer Research Building, internationally renowned scientists will tackle our greatest health care challenges, pinpointing the cellular origins of disease and finding targeted treatments for conditions such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases. Weill Cornell is committed to making a difference in this world by enhancing human health, and I am excited for what we can accomplish."

Innovative and Sustainable Design

 

Designed by Todd Schliemann, a founding partner and design principal for Ennead Architects, the Belfer Research Building uses sustainable materials, highly efficient mechanical systems and green construction. The building is designed to maximize energy efficiency and features a high-performance, double-skinned fritted glass curtain wall with openings and sun-shading devices that enhance visual and thermal comfort. The building design maximizes natural light, ample yet effective space design and the functional use of sustainable materials to enhance quality of life within the building. Energy-efficient HVAC, lighting control and water conservation systems will enable the Belfer Research Building to save approximately 30 percent on energy consumption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 26 percent, in comparison to a building complying with the minimum requirements set by typical industry guidelines and standards. Weill Cornell is seeking gold certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

The Belfer Research Building is designed to complement the medical college's National Healthcare Design Award-winning Weill Greenberg Center, which Ennead completed in 2007. A two-story space extends from the Belfer Research Building's entrance to a landscaped garden on the interior of the block on the second floor, connecting the two buildings and creating an internalized "campus green." Conference rooms, lounge and study spaces, as well as a café are connected to the garden.

In addition to laboratory space, the Belfer Research Building features The Starr Foundation-Maurice R. Greenberg Conference Center and Terrace. This space, which spans the second and third floors, includes a reception hall and three conference rooms equipped with video-conferencing technology for in-house and international meetings. In addition, the Daisy and Paul Soros Student Meeting Room, located on the first floor, provides an inviting open space where students can study, relax and meet.

The Jan. 31 ribbon cutting for the Belfer Research Building included remarks by Sen. Schumer; President Skorton; Chairman Harrison; Chairman Weill; Dr. Glimcher; Mr. Belfer; Dr. Steven J. Corwin, CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; and Dr. Randy Longman, assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell and an assistant attending gastroenterologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

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. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.

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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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