The family of the late food and drugstore pioneer L.S. “Sam” Skaggs made a “lead gift” toward The Scripps Research Institute’s $100 million campaign to establish fellowships for all students in its graduate program, which awards doctoral degrees in biology and chemistry, it was announced Wednesday.
The program will be renamed the Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences, according to TSRI President Peter Schultz.
“This transformational gift by the Skaggs family to our graduate program is a vote of confidence in our continuing strategy of building excellence in education and research, which are inextricably linked,” he said.
“It recognizes the outstanding scientific discoveries that have been and will continue to be produced by the students of TSRI’s top 10 program.”
TSRI’s graduate program operates on both of its campuses and enrolls 40 to 50 students a year. Since its founding in 1989, the program has placed more than 100 alumni in faculty positions at major universities and colleges around the world, with hundreds more alumni in leadership roles in biotech and pharmaceutical companies, Schultz said.
According to a TSRI statement, the Skaggs family’s gift, made through their foundations, “will make it possible for individual supporters of the Graduate Program to donate $500,000 that will then be supplemented by an additional $500,000 from The ALSAM Foundation and the Skaggs Foundation for Research to create a $1 million endowment for an individual named student fellowship.”
Members of TSRI’s faculty and Board of Directors have made personal donations to the campaign, totaling more than $10 million to date.
The Skaggs family’s support of biomedical research at TSRI dates back to the 1980s and includes underwriting the construction of The Aline W. & L.S. Skaggs Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Center. In 1996, their commitment of $100 million — at the time, one of the largest gifts ever to higher education — created The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology.
Sam and Aline Skaggs’ son, Mark, has served on TSRI’s Board of Directors and their daughter, Claudia Skaggs Luttrell, currently plays an active role. In addition to her family’s gift to the endowment campaign, Luttrell made an undisclosed personal donation, as did her adult children.
A not-for-profit institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, TSRI employs more than 2,500 people on its campuses in La Jolla and Jupiter, Florida, where its scientists — including two Nobel laureates and 20 members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering or Medicine — work toward new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia and other diseases.
— City News Service
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