PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The anonymous donor that gave $100 million to Oregon Health & Science University last month has been revealed as Columbia Sportswear chairwoman Gert Boyle, and the donation was made to honor her late sister.
Boyle's gift means the university has to raise $70 million more to trigger Phil and Penny Knight's matching $500 million donation, which the Nike co-founder pledged a year ago. The effort aims to make the university's Knight Cancer Institute one of the leading cancer research facilities in the nation, The Oregonian reported Friday (http://bit.ly/1u3PZAc ).
Boyle was not available to discuss the gift Friday, but Brian Druker, head of the Knight Cancer Institute, told the backstory.
In 2007, Druker met Boyle's son, Tim, the CEO of Columbia, and discovered Tim Boyle's aunt, Hildegard Lamfrom, had been Druker's mentor while he was a grad student at University of California, San Diego.
"Gert wanted to hear about her sister, how she helped me through my truly formative years in the laboratory," Druker said.
Lamfrom had been a research scientist, who worked with trailblazers like Francis Crick, the biologist who helped discovered the DNA molecule's structure, the newspaper reported. Lamfrom died in 1984 at the age of 62 from a brain tumor.
"She was an extremely skilled scientist," Druker said, noting that Lamfrom worked at a time, in the 1960s and '70s, when female researchers faced barriers.
In a July meeting, Boyle revealed her donation to Druker, who wants to put the funding drive toward hiring 20 to 30 cancer researchers and associates with a focus on early cancer detection and survival.
The money frees the researchers from seeking grants, a challenge Boyle's sister knew well. Lamfrom lost her funding while working in Oregon, so the Boyles "understand the perils of being grant-funded," Druker said.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com
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