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$50 Million Gifts Received By Harvard Medical School, University Of Utah Engineering

The Harvard Medical School and the University of Utah College of Engineering have both announced receiving historic $50 million donations this week.

Harvard Medical School

The Massachusetts-based Cummings Foundation has donated $50 million to establish the Paul Farmer Collaborative of Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) in Rwanda. The gift will be divided equally between the two institutions and will be paid out over ten years.

The gift honors the late Paul Farmer, a well-known Harvard medical anthropologist and physician, who co-founded Partners in Health, a global health nonprofit in 1987. Farmer died last year at age 62 while teaching at the University of Global Health Equity, the private health sciences university in Rwanda he helped found in 2015, with financial support from the Cummings Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundationand the government of Rwanda.

“During his all-too-brief time here with us, Paul was the vital physical link between Harvard and UGHE,” said Joyce Cummings, co-founder of the Cummings Foundation, in Harvard’s news release. “In Paul’s absence, it is critical that we act to ensure that this bond and his work endures.”

The Paul Farmer Collaborative will focus on social medicine at both institutions with a special emphasis on developing sustainable and equitable health systems. The new gift will fund:

  • Independent and collaborative research, teaching, and education at both institutions;
  • The exchange of students, postdoctoral trainees, and faculty;
  • An annual global conference and workshop on health equity, global health and social medicine;
  • An endowed Cummings Foundation Professorship of Global Health Equity at HMS;
  • Clinical training opportunities for medical students and residents, initially focused on building surgical capacity and surgical health innovation in low-resource settings. The training could later expand to other clinical specialties such as mental health, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine, dermatology, and anesthesiology.

The Cummings Foundation was formed by Joyce and Bill Cummings in 1986, built on the financial success of Cummings Properties, the Boston-based commercial real estate firm that Bill Cummings founded in 1970. It has since grown into one of the largest private foundations in the New England area.

The Cummings donation is the largest gift to HMS since 2018, when the school received a record $200 million from the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

University of Utah College of Engineering

On Tuesday, the University of Utah announced that it had received a $50 million gift from the John and Marcia Price Family Foundation for its college of engineering. The donation is the largest in the college’s history and one of the biggest for the university as a whole.

In recognition of the gift, the engineering college will be renamed the University of Utah John and Marcia Price College of Engineering, pending final approval by the university’s Board of Trustees.

“The University of Utah has an international reputation for innovation in engineering and computer science. Marcia and I want to help ensure that opportunity for this and future generations,” said John Price. “Our gift to the College of Engineering is an investment, to provide education at the highest level of excellence, and to meet the engineering and computing needs for local and global demand. Additionally, these funds will strengthen, elevate, and expand the college’s research and educational initiatives.”

The Price’s gift will be divided into two components. It will establish a permanent endowment of $32.5 million that will support student scholarships, teaching labs and equipment, and various educational initiatives. The remaining $17.5 million will go towards the new John and Marcia Price Computing and Engineering Building, a six-story, 253,000-square-foot facility that’s expected to begin construction in 2024.

“This generous gift from the John and Marcia Price Family Foundation marks another significant milestone in our commitment to investing in students, research and programs that drive innovation,” said University of Utah President Taylor R. Randall. “This investment in the education of engineering and computer science professionals will have an exponential impact as they contribute economic and societal value to the state and the nation. It’s a historic day for the U and we are grateful and inspired by the Prices.”

John and Marcia Price are long-time supporters of the University of Utah and other causes in the state of Utah. A University of Utah college of engineering alum, John Price founded a construction company that ultimately became JP Realty Inc., one of the largest commercial real estate development firms in the intermountain region. He has served as a US Ambassador to Mauritius, Comoros and the Seychelles and has also previously been a member of the University of Utah’s Board of Trustees.

Marcia Price is a leader in the arts community both in Utah and nationally. She has been the board chair of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and a board member of the National Committee for the Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC She received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Utah in 2006.

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