An unprecedented investment in learning and discovery at Washington University in St. Louis will serve the world
endowed professorships and faculty fellowships
Scholars in Medicine awards since 1999
million record year in Annual Fund
faculty, foundations, individuals, groups and corporations supported the Annual Fund in the Campaign's final year
Eliot Society members — a record number
“The success of the campaign, coupled with our tradition
of excellence, places us prominently among the best medical schools in
Thanks to the hard work of Campaign volunteers, the
BEHIND THE SUCCESS of the recently concluded “Campaign for Washington University” — which raised a breathtaking $1.55 billion overall, including $621 million for the School of Medicine — are thousands of individual stories that explain why so many donors were ready to be generous. Some had once been patients who received life-saving care from medical faculty; others were faculty or friends of the School of Medicine, wishing to support its outstanding research. Still others were alumni, grateful for the education that had shaped their lives and careers.
One such donor was University alumna and long-time glaucoma sufferer, Grace Nelson Lacy, whose gift will create a glaucoma research center at the School of Medicine. “In the twilight of my days, Washington University has offered me an unparalleled opportunity to do something very dear to my heart: help other people escape the misery I have gone through with glaucoma,” says Lacy, a retired educator. “I feel that my epitaph will read not just that ‘she coped,’ but that ‘she made a difference.’”
Taken together, the gifts from Lacy and many others have made possible a dazzling array of initiatives —academic and research programs, endowed professorships, student scholarships, state-of-the-art facilities — that are moving the medical school and University forward. Already they are “accelerating Washington University’s ascent,” a slogan that sums up the aim of this nearly decade-long campaign.
“While the School of Medicine has always been well respected, the success of the campaign, coupled with our tradition of excellence, places us prominently among the best medical schools in the nation,” says Dean Larry J. Shapiro, MD 71, who succeeded William A. Peck, MD, in 2003. “It is difficult to describe how truly grateful we are to each individual who makes the choice to support us in our efforts.”
The campaign had its roots in a planning process that began in 1993 under Chancellor William H. Danforth, MD, with departments around the University setting priorities for change. University trustees decided to mount an ambitious, $1 billion fund drive in support of this plan. They later increased the goal to $1.3 billion — and the Campaign, which would date from Chancellor Mark Wrighton’s arrival in July 1995 to June 30, 2004, was well under way. The medical school’s portion of this effort would be a substantial $400 million goal, later raised to $500 million.
Leading the medical school’s Campaign Committee was trustee Andrew B. Craig III, who agreed to take on this challenge because of its long-term impact: Campaign funds would ensure the best faculty and programs, which would attract the best students, who in turn would become the best graduates and physicians — and continue to support the medical school. “Success breeds success,” says Craig, retired chairman of NationsBank and a founding partner of RiverVest Venture Partners. “It sounds trite but it is true. The success of the campaign will continue to build the success of the medical school and its outstanding faculty and leadership.”
The School of Medicine’s National Council, headed at the time of the campaign planning and launch by Robert J. Glaser, MD, HS 47, also was “very much behind the whole effort,” says Glaser, former School of Medicine faculty member who later served as dean of the medical schools at the University of Colorado and Stanford. “As Daniel Burnham, the architect who rebuilt Chicago after its fire, said: ‘Make no small plans.’ In this case we didn’t make a small plan. It was clear that it would take a huge amount of money, but we were optimistic that we would get it because of the quality of the place and of its work.”
First, the School developed a strong fund-raising structure with key volunteers as committee heads, among them Emily L. Smith, MD 68, who chaired the School of Medicine’s Annual Fund throughout the nine years of the campaign. These volunteers worked with the School’s energetic development staff, headed by Randy Farmer. But perhaps the most active participant of all was Peck, who traveled tirelessly to tell the School’s story to alumni groups.
“Dr. Peck is a development officer’s dream,” says Farmer, associate vice chancellor and director of Medical Alumni and Development. “He never passed up an opportunity to talk with a donor and tell them about the outstanding work happening at the School of Medicine.”
Many committee chairs and members made major gifts themselves, then asked colleagues to do the same. Robert C. Drews, MD 55, co-chair of the alumni committee with Gordon W. Philpott, MD 61, offered the “Drews Challenge,” a gift of $50,000 if 50 new Eliot Society members joined — and 77 actually signed up by making gifts of $1,000 or more. The late psychiatry pioneer Samuel B. Guze, MD 45, realized a long-time dream when he endowed a professorship in his field; then, as an avid volunteer, he regularly had luncheons with classmates and colleagues to ask for their support.
The Annual Fund contributed to every campaign goal, from buildings to scholarships. For example, more than $2.2 million raised by the Annual Fund over the course of the campaign flowed through the University’s Medical Center Alumni Association and helped support a range of student projects, including the Forum for International Health and Tropical Medicine, Students Teaching AIDS to Students, and the Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic. Along with medical alumni, others took part in the Annual Fund, including alumni from the programs in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Health Administration, as well as the former Washington University School of Nursing.
Students participated as well. Fourth-year class members from recent years pledged $25 or $50, payable over five years, and the 69 percent participation by the Class of 2003 was the highest on record. Foundations and corporations also stepped forward, some with major support. The Danforth Foundation gave an extraordinarily generous $30 million to the medical school and $100 million overall — the single largest foundation gift. Emerson’s Charitable Trust and the Anheuser-Busch Foundation provided a vital challenge gift to the Siteman Cancer Center to enable the expansion of cancer research space and programs. Pfizer provided important funds for student community service through the Young Scientist Program.
As the years ticked by, the campaign total burgeoned. In 1998, the University publicly announced the drive with $541 million in hand from its “quiet phase,” and that September held a gala kick-off at America’s Center. By 2001 the amount raised had reached $1 billion; two years later, $1.3 billion. The School of Medicine’s total also grew significantly, consistently representing about 40 percent of the whole.
The early part of the campaign went quickly, says Floyd E. Bloom, MD 60, chairman of the Department of Neuropharmacology at Scripps Research Institute, who took over leadership of the School of Medicine’s National Council from Glaser. Earlier he had headed the San Diego regional cabinet, one of the first regions to meet its goal.
“I would say that 95 percent of the effort was, in retrospect, relatively easy,” he says, “but the last five percent was by far the most difficult.”
He and others went to great lengths to make the case for the campaign goals. While serving as chair of the School of Medicine’s Eliot Society, James E. Marks, MD 65, personally signed hundreds of letters to alumni and former house staff urging them to join the Eliot Society. And they did: In the final year of the campaign, the Society attracted a record 216 new members.
Thanks to everyone’s hard work, the School of Medicine has realized dreams that would not otherwise have come true. Much-needed facilities were built, including the McDonnell Pediatric Research Building; the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center, now under construction, which will allow collaborative education; multidisciplinary centers, such as the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, that make possible exciting research and clinical care.
Endowed professorships and faculty fellowships have increased from 60 to 124 with additions such as the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Professorship in Medicine and Obesity Research held by Nada A. Abumrad, PhD, and the Dr. J. William Campbell Professorship in Medicine, established by John Doerr III and Ann Howland Doerr, held by Victoria Fraser, MD. Many donors regard such giving as a privilege, a chance to further medical science. One alumnus, suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), chose to fund a professorship in neurology as a way of furthering ALS research.
The School’s scholarship support also rose dramatically, with new programs like the $5 million William A. Peck MD Scholars in Medicine fund for medical students. Some donors of endowed scholarships were impelled by their memory of past kindnesses. I. Jerome Flance, MD 35, a donor and volunteer, recalled the medical giants who taught him and his classmates, including such greats as Mildred Trotter, Carl Cori, Barry Wood, and Evarts Graham.
Another alumnus recalled the welcome he had received long ago when other medical schools turned him away. As a young man, he had escaped from Nazi Germany and arrived in the United States, eager to become a physician. The School of Medicine invited him to attend — and a fellow émigré on the faculty even gave him the entrance exam in German. Throughout his long career, he never forgot what this opportunity had meant to him, and during the campaign he gave it to other students by establishing a scholarship in honor of his parents, who perished in the Holocaust.
“Thanks to the generous support of so many individuals, corporations and foundations, we are able to move quickly into the newest frontier of medicine,” says Shapiro. “Our BioMed 21 initiative is aimed at harnessing the promise of genome science and imaging technology by fostering many interdisciplinary collaborations among University faculty. We believe this interface will result in some of the most health-altering advances in medicine during the decade to come.”