Eccles Family Donates $110 Million For New Medical School At The U
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah announced a $110 million donation from two Eccles family foundations to build a new school of medicine.
The funding will provide a state-of-the-art medical school, but it goes far beyond a new building.
It will also enhance the U’s ability to conduct research, train more doctors and provide quality health care.
“We think it was the right time. And so here we are, full speed ahead,” said Spencer Eccles, chairman and CEO of the two foundations that awarded the grant said.
Eccles and daughters Katie and Lisa announced their milestone gift to replace the current building, which is 60 years old and falling apart, as current medical students will attest.
“They did have a small study space for us, but it was rickety and it flooded frequently, so it’ll be nice,” said student Jeff Last.
“For the past 75 years, Utah has benefitted from the heartfelt advocacy, visionary philanthropy, and deep compassion of the Eccles Family and their many family foundations.”- @MikeGoodMD, MD, Interim President of Interim President of the @UUtah & CEO of U of U Health. pic.twitter.com/OkfiZL8Nna
— University of Utah Health (@UofUHealth) June 9, 2021
“We have a great medical school,” explained Interim President Michael Good, M.D. “But it’s, it’s hard to have a great medical school in an old facility.”
A new state-of-the-art facility will improve the U’s ability to train doctors, conduct research, and improve health care.
“I have long believed that no state or region can become truly great without a world-class medical center at its nucleus,” said Mr. Eccles, “We hope this seminal grant—the largest ever awarded by our foundations—will help ensure the university not only provides the highest quality medical education for the doctors who serve Utah and the entire Intermountain West, but also furthers the excellence of health care for all our citizens and impacts the future of medicine through its groundbreaking research.”
Lisa Eccles said, “It’s not only about a building, but to me, what’s most important, are the things that occur inside that building.”
“The first thing that we could see was doctor shortage in the state, and particularly in the rural areas of the state,” said Mr. Eccles.
The gift will allow the U to train more doctors. That alone is important given Utah’s growth and the fact that two-thirds of the doctors in Utah get their training here.
“Hope that I can be a part of the workforce that’s going to come out of this donation to come back and work in, to come back and work in Utah,” said medical student Ayesha Patil.
President Emerita Ruth Watkins, Ph. D. explained, “So direct clinical care, a very important part of what happens here and the preparation of those who will lead that for the future.”
The donation will also further critical medical research. “Particularly in the area of cardiovascular research. Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer of Americans, the number one killer of Utahns,” said President Good.
The donation reinforced the Eccles family legacy of investing in health care in Utah.
The $110 million mirrored the mantra Spencer Eccles adopted during his leadership in banking, “giving 110%.”
“The give of yourself and continue to make things better than you found them and share it with everybody,” he said.
Katie Eccles said, “It’s a gift to the University of Utah medical school, but it’s really a gift to the state.”
The school will be renamed the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah.
“Through leadership spanning more than five decades, the Eccles family has shaped the University of Utah with remarkable breadth and depth—especially within the health sciences,” Dr. Watkins said. “In particular, Spence has been a leading champion. He has passionately built upon his family’s legacy to advance the University of Utah School of Medicine into a top-tier integrated academic medical institution. Today, he and his family foundations make their boldest and most forward-looking investment for the health of all Utahns. For these reasons and more, we are honored to have the School of Medicine bear his name.”
Groundbreaking is expected within six months.
The building should be completed in 2024, then the current building will be demolished.