June 29, 2015

Gifts Roundup: $100 Million for Drug Research; Cornell Gets $50 Million

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Conrad Prebys in a research laboratory at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute.

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Southern California businessman Conrad Prebys gave $100 million to the institute, which is being renamed the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. The money will go toward research programs aimed at spurring the development of new drugs and other medical therapies.

Mr. Prebys, who ranked No. 30 on The Chronicle’s most recent Philanthropy 50 list, previously gave $11 million to the institute. He owns Progress Construction and Management, based in San Diego.

Cornell University

Peter and Nancy Meinig and their family gave $50 million to endow the School of Biomedical Engineering, which will be named for them. Mr. Meinig is a private investor and former chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees. Mr. and Ms. Meinig earned their undergraduate degrees at Cornell in 1961 and 1962, respectively.

New York University Langone Medical Center

Paolo and Marlene Fresco gave $25 million to the center through their Fresco Foundation to create the Institute for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders, which will be named for the couple. The institute is scheduled to open in the fall. Mr. Fresco is a former chairman of Fiat and serves on the center’s Board of Trustees.

University of California at San Francisco

Sean Parker, a former Facebook president, gave $4.5 million through his Parker Foundation to the university’s Global Health Group. The money will be used to establish a research program aimed at eradicating malaria in much of the world by developing creative and aggressive approaches to combat the mosquito that transmits the disease.

College of William and Mary

Theresa (Terry) Thompson pledged $3.5 million for athletic programs. A large portion of the gift will support scholarships for student athletes in the women’s basketball program. Ms. Thompson is a retired human-resources consultant who worked for the Aon Hewitt firm. She graduated from the college in 1967 and was a member of its women’s basketball team.

To learn about other big donations, see our database of gifts of $1 million or more, which is updated throughout the week.

Send an e-mail to Maria Di Mento.