Former aerospace executive James S. McDonnell III and his wife, Elizabeth Hall McDonnell, have donated $25-million to the Washington University medical school's Genome Institute, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The gift is the first major donation to the institute, which was founded in 1993 and is one of three large-scale, federally funded centers for researching the genetic underpinnings of disease and developing personalized treatments for patients.
Mr. McDonnell was a director of McDonnell Douglas, which was founded by his father, prior to the aerospace firm's 1997 merger with Boeing. The McDonnell family are longtime supporters of Washington University. James and Elizabeth McDonnell helped build a pediatric research center at the university in memory of their daughter, Peggy, who died of cancer in 1972 at age 2.