Penn Medicine's Way

As the Perelman School turns 250, one of the traditions we celebrate and seek to strengthen is our heritage of philanthropy.  

At key junctures in our history, leaders have supported our idea of the future through giving. 

•    Pennsylvania Hospital was famously started by the fundraising challenge of Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond.  

•    The Barton family of medical alumni and faculty created the John Rhea Barton Chair, America's first professorship of surgery, to support the transition of professors from fee-based lecturers to salaried faculty.  

•    Alumnus, professor, and provost William Pepper, Jr., M’1864 gave his own money to found the pathology lab where our clinical research enterprise began.  

And every year, thousands of alumni, faculty, patients, and friends give to help us realize our mission as fully as we can.  

As we celebrate our first 250 years, philanthropy is robust.

•    In FY2014, we surpassed our goal of $140 M to raise $160 M. Of that amount, $80 M supported research, ensuring that we continue to lead in discovery. And $20 M was designated for faculty support, making it possible to reward extraordinary talent.

•    Since January 2013, the end of the Making History campaign, gifts from alumni, faculty, and friends have established ten new endowed professorships.

•    We recently celebrated the $10 million naming gift to the Paul F. Harron, Jr. Lung Center.

And this May, during Medical Alumni Weekend, the ribbon-cutting for the Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center, will demonstrate the power of our commitment to providing the best education for the next generation of medical students.

As the New York Times has noted, and the transformative gifts of recent years show, private funding is playing an increasing role in supporting medical research.

This 250th year we invite you to raise your philanthropic profile—through either the familiar process of working with your department chair and development officer or the new programs described in this issue.

We especially welcome your participation in the black-tie gala at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 16, 2015. This evening will be a rare opportunity to highlight the unique accomplishments and bright future of the Perelman School, with all proceeds benefiting our educational mission. 

Much has changed since 1765, but now as then, our faculty embodies the innovative spirit, forward momentum, and promise of Penn Medicine.

We look forward to working with you on the exciting launch of our next 250 years.

John H. Glick, M.D. Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Associate Dean of the School of Medicine for Resource Development

John H. Glick, M.D. Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Associate Dean of the School of Medicine for Resource Development

Kathryn Griffo , Chief Advancement Officer

Kathryn Griffo, Chief Advancement Officer


New Endowed Professorships . . .

Since the close of the campaign, Penn Medicine has established ten new professorships. Congratulations to the chair holders on their appointments and thank you for working with Penn Medicine Development and Alumni Relations (PMDAR) to build the Perelman School’s endowment.  

Chairholder Professorship Donor(s)
Joseph R. Carver, MD Bernard Fishman Endowed
Annabelle Fishman
Angela M. DeMichele, MD, MSCE Jill and Alan Miller Associate
Professor in Breast Cancer
Jill and Alan Miller
Bruce L. Levine, PhD Barbara and Edward Netter
Associate Professor in Cancer
Gene Therapy
Barbara S. Netter
David L. Porter, MD Jodi Fisher Horowitz
Professor in Leukemia Care
Jerome and Anne Fisher
David J. Vaughn, MD GU Medical Oncology
Allison and Richard Prezelski,
Ruth and Bennett Nathanson,
among several grateful and
generous donors
Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil Hanna Wise Professor in
Cancer Research
Allen Wise, Marc and Laurel
Wise, Brian and Nastaran Wise
Kristin L. Weber, MD Abramson Family Professor in
Sarcoma Care Excellence
Madlyn and Leonard
Eric L. Zager, MD Neurosurgical Professor in
Academic Excellence
Dottie and David Brennan
To Be Announced Steffi Roehrhoff Rickels
Karl Rickels, MD
To Be Announced Arthur H. Rubenstein, MBBCh, Professorship Janet and John Haas,
Jerome and Anne Fisher


. . . And New Gift from CVI Leadership Council Chair Richard T. Clark Makes Penn Medicine First to Create President’s Distinguished Professorship 

Challenge from Penn Medicine Trustees George Weiss and Richard Vague Encourages New President’s Chairs 

Richard T. Clark and his wife Angela gave $3 million to endow a chair and, thanks to the new challenge program, establish a research fund in cardiovascular medicine at the Perelman School.  Mr. Clark, former CEO and Chairman of Merck & Company, has chaired the Penn CVI Leadership Council since 2007.  Inspired by the work of CVI faculty, he has helped CVI Director and Chair of the Department of Medicine Michael S. Parmacek MD to lead the Council’s $15 million fundraising campaign.

Earlier this year, Penn President Amy Gutmann announced an ambitious plan, as part of her Penn Compact 2020 Presidential Initiative, to establish 50 new endowed chairs. The goal of the President’s Distinguished Professorship Fund is to recruit and retain eminent multidisciplinary faculty. 

Penn Medicine Trustees, George Weiss, W’65, HON’14, and Richard Vague, have pledged $10 million to match gifts to create new distinguished professorships. The challenge contributed $750,000 to the endowment for the Clark chair.  In turn, the Clarks decided to pay it forward by using the funding freed up by the match to establish a research fund in the Electrophysiology Program in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine led by Frank Marchlinski, MD.  The Clarks’ gift for both the professorship and the research fund was made to honor Dr. Marchlinski.

Securing a gift to endow a chair is surely a marathon, not a sprint. Wherever you are in the race – from the running shoe store to the homestretch, we invite you to help fuel Penn Medicine’s drive from excellence to eminence.

To learn how you can become involved, contact Kim Grube in Penn Medicine Development and Alumni Relations at 215-746-3007 or


A New Emphasis on Discovery Science

A recently launched set of workshops, outreach events highlighting basic research faculty, and an eNewsletter are among the new initiatives under way to spur development for fundamental science. With little to cheer about in budget news from Washington, Dean Larry Jameson asked PMDAR to develop new tools to help research faculty communicate the importance of their work and attract philanthropic partnerships.

To this end, PMDAR hosted two educational sessions on development in June ─ and the response was impressive, with 70 faculty members in attendance. At these first-ever courses designed for basic scientists at Penn Medicine, attendees heard donors describe in their own words what motivates their giving. Led by Walt Edwards, an experienced development training specialist, the course offered participants tools to help communicate the value and excitement of their work to lay audiences.

Examples can be found in Penn Medicine Magazine and The Dish, the eNewsletter for Biomedical Graduate Studies faculty and alumni that launched this fall. As BGS prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary in October 2015, The Dish features the accomplishments of faculty and graduates of this nationally leading program. It also encourages giving to support fellowships for BGS students.

Basic scientists are also being highlighted in development outreach events.  For example, this August, Jonathan A. Epstein, MD, chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, moderated the Partners in Patient Care panel discussion in Bar Harbor, Maine, which included John Dani, PhD, chair of Neuroscience, as a panelist.  Part of the Mount Desert Island Hospital (MDIH) – Penn Medicine Collaborative, founded by Jill Baren, MD, MBE, FACEP, FAAP, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, the event gave Dr. Epstein the opportunity to connect with Penn’s network in the area. Philadelphia philanthropists and Mount Desert Island summer residents Wistar and Martha Morris and The Cotswold Foundation pledged $500,000 to support Dr. Epstein’s research in regenerative cardiology and PhD fellowships in the BGS program.  

Torren Blair, Director of Development, Basic Science Programs, is spearheading the basic science efforts for PMDAR and reports that the faculty response has been impressive. “Our faculty are already leaders in creating new knowledge, and now they are rising to the challenge of telling the story of discovery science. We have seen a handful of exciting “proof of principle” partnerships between our researchers and philanthropists – and we are seeking new audiences and new connections to support the work of our faculty.”

PMDAR is now laying plans for a “Make Your Metaphor” project in response to faculty interest in further communications training. Basic scientists will have access to samples of their colleagues talking creatively and concisely about science, and will be encouraged to submit descriptions of their own work. To support this exercise, further development communications workshops are being planned for early December. Details to follow.


Penn Medicine's GivingPages: A Simple Way to Raise Funds
for Your Key Projects

With the new Penn GivingPages, you can describe your cause, demonstrate your fundraising goal in easy-to-view graphics, add video, and e-mail your whole contact list in a few easy steps. 

Created by Penn Medicine Development and Alumni Relations, the app supports giving to the annual fund of the Perelman School or Health System, or any other fund that is meaningful to you.

Howard E. Goldstein, associate clinical professor at Penn’s School of Dental Medicine, and his family were the first to use the service. “When our father Allan passed away, we wanted to do anything we could to support anaplastic thyroid cancer research to help other families,” he said. “My father’s physician, Marcia Brose, MD, PhD, told me about Penn GivingPages, and it has turned out to be an ideal tool.” Dr. Goldstein and his family used GivingPages to raise funds for their first annual Allan’s Walk, exceeding their $10,000 goal by nearly $4,000. Fundraising through Penn GivingPages is underway for the second annual Allan’s Walk.

GivingPages post cards are available and ideal to display in your office. It is a convenient way to introduce this very accessible way of rallying support and raising funds. Please visit to create your own page.


Make Your Next Step an Event

Every year, Penn Medicine Development and Alumni Relations organizes hundreds of events and donor visits. These activities can involve hundreds of people, such as our Advances in Medicine panel discussion series, 250th Celebration Kick Off, Medical Alumni Weekend, or Penn Medicine in Palm Beach. A lecture or discovery lunch may occupy a roomful of interested donors, while a dialogue over dinner may be the ideal way for a donor to get to know you and your ideas for the future.

You don’t have to be in the limelight to make events work for you. Celebrations like the naming of the Paul F. Harron, Jr. Lung Center on October 15, draw many people, and can offer the opportunity for rare face time with donors who are not regularly on campus. 

Whether you are at the podium or in the crowd, events can be an important tool in developing philanthropic relationships. To learn more about which events may be right for your goals, please contact your department’s advancement officer.