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$3.5 Million Gift to USC/Norris to Establish Six Endowed Chairs

A $3.5 MILLION GIFT from the Kurt and Erma Rose Trust will help to establish as many as six new endowed chairs at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The gift will also fund a new program to recognize those who have included the USC/Norris in their wills.

The Rose bequest will prove to be among “the most important gifts the Norris has ever received,” predicts Bill Watson, director of development.

There have been nine chairs established at the USC/Norris since 1994, said Watson, and the goal is to have 22 fully funded chairs.

“Endowed chairs help ensure the future of the cancer center,” Watson said.

The first $3 million from the bequest will be divided into $500,000 “lead gifts” toward the $1.5 million needed to fully fund a chair. “This gives individuals who may not be able to give more than $1 million the ability to endow a chair in their name,” he said.

The endowment of a chair requires that a gift of capital – $1.5 million, in this case – be invested so that the return on the investment supports the research of a succession of medical scientists. The principal of the gift remains in place in perpetuity to support the chair and succeeding holders.

“Our priority now is to use new endowed chairs as a means of recruiting and retaining distinguished physicians and scientists,” said Peter Jones, director of the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. “With the addition of the Dr. Norman Topping Tower, we have doubled the size of the USC/Norris. We are well on our way to fulfilling our vision of bringing scientists and physicians side by side in the pursuit of a cure for cancer.”

THE FINANCIAL SECURITY OF ENDOWED CHAIRS enables physicians or scientists to pursue ideas that might seem risky or to strike out on a research course that is long and perhaps difficult to fund through regular grant applications.

Another important element of the Rose gift will be the establishment of the Kurt and Erma Rose Heritage Circle, said Watson. The Circle will identify and contact individuals who have made bequests to USC/Norris in their wills. The Circle will establish a recognition area in the hospital and host an annual event at USC/Norris to honor donors.

“We will bring them into the Cancer Center and show them firsthand the important work their gifts will support,” said Watson.

Part of the impetus for the Circle, said Watson, was the bequest from Kurt and Erma Rose, individuals who had not contacted USC/Norris before their deaths. “We’ve had dozens of individuals step forward and let us know we’ve been given revocable trusts in their wills,” Watson said. “We hope to recognize them and others who may not yet have identified themselves so we can demonstrate the importance of their gifts to us.”

The Kurt and Erma Rose Heritage Circle will be dedicated June 14 at 3 p.m. at USC/Norris. For more information, please contact Debra Watson at (213) 764-0700.

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