UAB gets largest gift in history

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 2:49 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UAB has received it’s largest endowment gift ever: $100 million. The school said Wednesday it will help transform its’ school of medicine.

UAB received $95 million from Dr. Marnix Heersink and his wife Mary. Dr. Heersink is an eye surgeon and entrepreneur from Dothan.

UAB will be naming the School of Medicine after Heersink as well as the Heersink Institute of Biomedical Innovation and the Mary Heersink Institute of Global Health. The money will be used mostly to help retain and lure more faculty members to the school in efforts to expand healthcare research. This means more opportunity for innovation in healthcare, bringing in more diverse faculty and improving healthcare equity. Adding and retaining staff also means more tax dollars in the Birmingham community.

“The economic opportunities it provides, that means jobs which in each of our labs when we recruit an investigator it’s like a small million-dollar enterprise. Hiring 10 to 12 people with salaries of $60,000 a year.” Dr. Selwyn Vickers, UAB Senior VP of Medicine and Dean of the School of Medicine said.

Heersink believes the donation will make a difference in people’s lives and their health. “Helping to create something that is durable and lasting that benefits citizens. The people I see.” Heersink said.

Triton Health Systems is also contributing $5 million to bring the total contribution to $100 million. The money will help target physicians for research in key areas such as heart and cancer healthcare.

The Heersinks could have donated money anywhere, but they choose UAB because their three children went through the School of Medicine.

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