USC SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Welcomes $110M Gift
Hoping to propel the University of Southern California's School of Medicine into the nation's top tier, the Los Angeles-based W.M. Keck Foundation announced yesterday plans to donate $110 million over the next decade to the school -- the "largest [gift] ever to a medical school," the Los Angeles Times reports. In recognition of the gift, USC said that today it "will publicly rename the school after William Myron Keck, the founder of Superior Oil Co. who went on to establish one of America's largest philanthropic organizations." The grant will fold into the $1.5 billion the school expects to spend on campus projects over the next decade, including $818 million from Los Angeles County to rebuild County-USC Medical Center. For now, the school plans to channel the first $20 million, with an additional $20 million from an as yet undetermined donor, to build the Neurogenetics Institute. "We are going to build this new research building and fill it with some of the brightest minds in the world," said USC President Steven Sample, pointing to the school's goal of rebuilding labs, hiring "hot-shot scientists" and providing medical school scholarships for students. Dr. Brian Henderson, director of the Neurogenetics Institute, said the Keck funds will go a long way toward luring researchers to the school and fuel its ascent into the top ranks, where it would rival University of California-Los Angeles' position in the highly sought top 10. "We're going to steal from the best," he said. As it stands, USC ranks 23rd out of 125 medical schools in the Association of American Medical College's ranking and 36th in the "less- scientific" breakdown by the U.S. News & World Report. The Los Angeles Times reports that the donation "is the largest to a medical school, edging out last year's $100-million gift to Cornell Medical College" (Wiess, 7/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.