Almanac Between Issues

June 10, 2008

$50 Million Gift From Anne and Jerome Fisher for New Translational Medicine Research Center

Anne Fisher
Jerome Fisher

A $50 million gift from philanthropists Jerome and Anne Fisher will support a new eight-story biomedical-research center at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to the growing field of translational medicine, which emphasizes an accelerated pace for converting laboratory discoveries into medical therapies.

Slated to open in 2010, the Anne and Jerome Fisher Translational Research Center will be adjacent to Penn’s two new state-of-the-art outpatient-care facilities that will begin operations this year and in 2009. Together, the three facilities will reconfigure the Penn medical campus to tightly align medical research and care and to enable Penn to offer the most advanced treatments for cancer, cardiovascular disease and other serious health conditions.

“All of us at the University of Pennsylvania are enormously grateful to Anne and Jerome for this incredibly generous and transformational gift which will further position Penn at the forefront of bench-to-bedside medicine,” President Amy Gutmann said.

“The Fishers’ long and steadfast commitment to Penn has profoundly impacted the University, and this significant gift continues their legacy of supporting eminence in areas that become signature strengths of Penn, such as the Fisher Program in Management and Technology and the Anne and Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library.”

“Anne and I love Penn,” Mr. Fisher said, “and we have long felt that investing in this world-class university is investing in the future of humankind itself. We are especially pleased to be able to make a contribution that will impact advances in health care, something which touches everyone’s life.”

This most recent Fisher contribution to Penn is the largest capital gift to the University’s “Making History” fund-raising campaign. It is one of the largest gifts in the history of Penn and the second largest gift to PENN Medicine. A professorship in hematology and oncology named in honor of the Fishers’ daughter, Jodi Fisher, is also included in this donation.

Translational research is an example of Penn’s interdisciplinary efforts to address some of the most pressing health issues facing society today, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Each of the eight floors of the Anne and Jerome Fisher Translational Research Center will be the size of a football field. The 400,000-square-foot structure will dramatically increase Penn’s research space.

Through its imaginative design and its connections to the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, the Roberts Proton Therapy Center and other centers of patient care, the facility will provide an innovative home for the research engine that keeps PENN Medicine at the leading edge of medical care.

The Center will enable the recruitment of additional top scientists in key strategic areas and will accommodate the research and office-based activities of 100 principal investigators and 900 additional staff.

“This generous gift by the Fishers will have a far-reaching impact on our institution by transforming PENN Medicine into one of the world’s leading centers of translational medicine,” said Arthur H. Rubenstein, dean of the Penn School of Medicine and executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “This new research center makes possible an unprecedented level of focused scientific exchange among researchers, clinicians and educators from which will emerge important new medical knowledge and treatments.”

“The ultimate beneficiaries of the Fishers’ gift are patients in the region, in the nation and from around the world,” Ralph W. Muller, chief executive officer of the Penn Health System, said. “The new research center provides Penn the ability to further link its twin strengths of basic research and patient care by enabling its physician scientists to convert biomedical insights into prevention, treatments and cures.”

Mr. Fisher, founder and chairman emeritus of the Nine West Group Inc., is a 1953 graduate of Penn’s Wharton School and has grandchildren who are Penn alumni. He and his wife have been active supporters of Penn for many years.

Their previous gifts to Penn, totaling more than $14 million, include renovations to two other landmark buildings at Penn, the Fisher Hassenfeld College House and the Anne and Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library. They also helped establish the Fisher Program in Management and Technology and the Anne Fisher Graduate Fellowship that provides endowed financial aid for graduate fine arts students.

Mrs. Fisher served on the Board of Overseers for the Graduate School of Fine Arts, now known as the School of Design, from 1992 to 2002, and in 1999 was awarded the Dean’s Medal in Landscape and Architecture.

Mr. Fisher served on the Wharton School’s Undergraduate Executive Board and Board of Overseers in 1992-2004. In addition, he was a University trustee from 1996 to 2000, and both served as members of the College House Advisory Board from 2000-2001. He has been a member of PENN Medicine’s Board of Trustees since 2006 and is an honorary emeritus trustee of the University.

The international firm of Rafael Viñoly Architects PC is designing the center to incorporate innovative features that will support the collaboration of researchers across disciplines. Viñoly’s portfolio includes courthouses, museums, athletic facilities, laboratories and arts centers.

“Making History: The Campaign for Penn” has a goal of $3.5 billion to be raised by June 30, 2012. More than half of that amount has been raised thus far.

Posted 6/10/08

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