The University of Texas at Austin today received a $1 million gift from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for capital support of the Dell Pediatric Research Institute, a cutting-edge center for children's health research in Central Texas.
Kenny Wilson, Central and South Texas president for Bank of America, presented the gift at a reception hosted by university officials to educate local community leaders on the interdisciplinary benefits the new institute and the Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas will have on pediatric medical research.
"As a company, we believe that healthy communities create strong businesses," Wilson said. "UT Austin has made a tremendous investment in the health of our community's greatest assets: our children. We applaud the university's efforts and are proud to take this opportunity to join them in the creation of the institute, which will serve as an anchor in our community by driving economic growth, attracting leading experts and generating world-class research in the field of pediatric medicine."
The Dell Pediatric Research Institute will combine The University of Texas at Austin's expertise in life sciences, pharmacology, technology, biomedical engineering and other disciplines with the resources of the new Dell Children's Medical Center, which opened in June. Researchers from the University of Texas System's other health science institutions will also contribute to the center, establishing Austin as a center of excellence for children's health and biomedical research.
A recent study commissioned by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce showed Austin's health care industry carries an annual economic impact of about $8.8 billion and employs more than 85,000 people. The study concluded that a quality medical enterprise helped recruit other businesses and establish improved long-term quality of life for area residents.
The cash contribution, the largest gift from a corporate foundation for the Dell Pediatric Research Institute, will be used toward completion of the $97 million, 150,000-square-foot facility, which is under construction at the former Austin municipal airport site. The institute is scheduled to open in December 2008.
"The University of Texas at Austin joins the citizens of our community and all of Central Texas in thanking the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for this very generous gift," William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, said. "It will make possible innovation in the sciences, biomedical engineering and pharmacology. And it will help us to offer the most advanced health care to children and provide a healthier future for generations to come. We are deeply indebted to the Bank of America."
The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation awarded a $38 million gift in May 2006 to help establish a pediatric health research institute in Austin. The UT System Board of Regents also authorized $45 million in support of the project. Of that amount, $25 million in bond proceeds from the Permanent University Fund was applied toward construction of the facility. The other $15 million was awarded from the Available University Fund and $5 million came from the UT System's Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) program to recruit a top-notch director for the institute and provide faculty and equipment start-up costs.
"Bank of America's generous gift will significantly facilitate the University of Texas' efforts to improve the lives of thousands of children in Austin and Central Texas," said Randa S. Safady, vice chancellor for external relations for the University of Texas System. "A corporate gift of this magnitude speaks volumes about the business community's interest in ensuring the vitality and health of Austin's growing population, and we're grateful that Bank of America has taken a leadership role in doing so."
With the Bank of America Charitable Foundation $1 million gift, private support for the project received to date is $44 million. Other contributors include The RGK Foundation of Austin and the Topfer Family Foundation of Austin.
"We are thrilled with this commitment to children and their parents because it further demonstrates our shared vision to ensure the availability of world-class health care, research and education right here in Austin," said Susan Dell, co-founder and chairwoman of the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.