Despite the tough economic climate, an anonymous Boston University Medical School graduate recently pledged the largest-ever single-person donation given to MED.
The $10.5 million donation to MED will be used to develop a new Breast Cancer Research Center on the medical campus, MED Dean and Medical Campus Provost Karen Antman said.
The funds will also go toward recruiting new faculty members, training scientists from the developing world and funding breast cancer research among diverse and impoverished populations, Antman said.’ Administrators hope the Breast Cancer Research Center will be operational by spring 2011, she said.
‘This donor saw the importance for continued investment in breast cancer research and the need to accelerate the development of diagnostics and treatment for this common life-threatening disease,’ Antman said.
The donor is a two-time cancer survivor, according to a March 18 press release from MED.
The pledge will also support a new residence for medical students on the medical campus. The proposed nine-story building will house 208 first-year medical students, Antman said.
This donation will also help the research community support existing programs and help sponsor new research projects, MED professor Carol Rosenberg said.
‘There are some plans for experimental exploratory projects, which will foster the next generation of researchers and provide job opportunities for students,’ Rosenberg said.
College of Arts and Sciences biology professor Edward Loechler said the research department needed the donation because of lack of federal funding given to research projects.
‘The past five years have been a discouraging time for science research,’ Loechler said. ‘Normally, one in four or one in five federal grants get funded. In the last five years, it’s been one in 10 grants being funded. This lack of funding has resulted in important research not being pursued.’
Loechler said that instead of funds being directed toward science research, the government is instead spending that money on the military.
‘Spending money on the military doesn’t help people in a direct way,’ Loechler said. ‘People can’t eat missiles, or people can’t drive missiles. Our priorities need to be reorganized.’
Rosenberg said she is especially proud that BU was able to receive such a large private donation for research.
‘We really could do a lot with a donation of this size,’ Rosenberg said. ‘It is great for the reputation of the university. The fact that the donation was so large and the donators wish to remain anonymous is truly remarkable.
‘Hopefully, if it is publicized enough, our university will continue to receive donations of the same size,’ Rosenberg said.