A Chicago-area family with a long history of supporting science and medicine is giving $100 million to the University of Chicago.
The gift from The Duchossois Group Inc. Chairman and CEO Craig Duchossois, his wife, Janet Duchossois, and The Duchossois Family Foundation will establish an institute named after the family.
The Duchossois Family Institute will fund research and interventions based on how the human immune system, microbiome and genetics interact to maintain health.
It will support development of a “new science of wellness” aimed at preserving health and complementing medicine’s traditional focus on disease treatment and also educate young doctors and students in this new science, according to a press release issued late Tuesday night.
The gift – being officially announced Wednesday at the university – is the largest single gift in support of UChicago Medicine and brings the family’s lifetime charitable contributions to the academic medical center to $137 million.
The Duchossois gift is the fourth time there has been a single gift of $100 million or more to the University of Chicago.
The Thomas L. Pearson and The Pearson Family Members Foundation made a grant of $100 million in 2015 to establish The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts and The Pearson Global Forum at the Harris School of Public Policy.
An anonymous donor gave $100 million in 2007 to fund the Odyssey Scholarship Program in support of undergraduate student aid.
The university’s largest gift was $300 million given in 2008 by investment entrepreneur David Booth, for whom the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is named.
“We wanted to find a way to be transformative in our giving and looked to the University of Chicago and asked, ‘What is the nature of what’s in our bodies that helps us stay well?’” Ashley Duchossois Joyce, president of The Duchossois Family Foundation, said in a statement.
The latest gift continues the family’s history of giving to the University that spans 37 years, inspired by the care that Beverly Duchossois, the late wife of Richard Duchossois, received at what was then called the University of Chicago Hospital. In 1980, Richard Duchossois established the Beverly E. Duchossois Cancer Fund in memory of his wife.
In the years since, the family has given the university $37 million to drive innovation and transformative care at the medical center, including a named professorship and several cancer research funds. That amount includes a $21 million gift in 1994 to establish the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, which is home to outpatient specialty clinics, diagnostic centers and treatment facilities at the University of Chicago Medicine.
“The Duchossois Family Institute will draw on the creativity and skill of university researchers across many fields in bringing new perspectives to medical science, oriented toward making an impact that greatly benefits human lives,” said University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer.
“We are grateful for the Duchossois family’s remarkable level of engagement in establishing this innovative alliance between medical experts and entrepreneurs.”