Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content
Official UB news and information for the media

UB Shares in Largest Award in History of Oishei Foundation

By Arthur Page

Release Date: March 6, 2003

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The John R. Oishei Foundation today announced grants totaling $9 million to the three partners in the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex (BLSC).

The University at Buffalo will receive an additional $2 million and Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute each will receive $3.5 million.

The award, the largest in the Oishei Foundation's 63-year history, is contingent on the BLSC institutions obtaining the necessary commitments to reach their respective funding goals.

It has been made to UB, HWI and Roswell Park as a partnership under the auspices of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). The three organizations, which have a long history of collaborative research, are cooperating in the design and development of an integrated, three-building life sciences research center, the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex, to be built at Ellicott and Virginia streets.

While the HWI and Roswell Park awards will be dedicated primarily to facilities development, the money granted to UB will go toward the recruitment, salaries and research of top-level scientists at the UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics.

An earlier grant from the Oishei Foundation to UB for $1,542,000 was used to support the salaries and research of Jeffrey Skolnick, the center's director, and two other scientists recruited with Skolnick from the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.

With commitments totaling more than $11.7 million, the John R. Oishei Foundation is the largest foundation supporter of "The Campaign for UB: Generation to Generation," which has a goal of $250 million.

Gifts from the foundation to the campaign have included 20 separate grants supporting a wide range of projects. Among them are more than $2 million for the UB Toshiba Stroke Research Center, $1.5 million to the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to establish a Center for Research in Cardiovascular Medicine and $1.2 million for vascular disease prevention research.

At a press conference this morning, UB President William R. Greiner thanked the Oishei Foundation, noting that the award to the three institutions "continues in the Oishei Foundation's distinguished tradition of philanthropic leadership in our Western New York community."

Greiner said "the groundbreaking research performed at the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex will go a long way toward carrying out the larger mission of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, making our Buffalo region an internationally important center for biomedicine, biotechnology, and revolutionary health care. Together with our research partners at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, UB is proud to be at the forefront of cutting-edge biomedical research that will have a profound impact on medicine and health care in the 21st century."

James M. Wadsworth, chair of the John R. Oishei Foundation Board of Directors, noted that the foundation "has been a strong supporter of this collaborative project from its inception,"

"The foundation has provided support to the BNMC for its initial three years of existence and has provided a major grant to HWI to establish the Structural Biology Center in 1998," Wadsworth added. "We believe this collaborative project is a major positive step in establishing Buffalo as a leader in the life sciences arena."

The Buffalo Life Sciences Complex will consist of three new buildings adding more than 400,000 square feet of state-of-the-art research space to the BNMC. Construction will begin in the summer of 2003. The complex, will house the Hauptman-Woodward Center for Structural Biology, the Roswell Park Center for Genetics and Pharmacology, and the University at Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics. The BLSC will sponsor life sciences research designed to improve human health by developing new therapies to treat and cure disease.

Thomas R. Beecher, Jr., chair of the BNMC Board of Directors, praised the Oishei Foundation's generous support of the effort. "This landmark award from the Oishei Foundation underscores the foundation's dedication to Buffalo, to the institutions of the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex and to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus," he noted.

Echoing Beecher's comments, David C. Hohn, Roswell Park president and CEO, remarked, "Today's announcement is wonderful news for Western New York and for all of us associated with the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex. The John R. Oishei Foundation's philanthropic support and vision have enhanced the quality of life in our community for more than 60 years, and this very generous grant clearly reflects their commitment to the future of health care and life sciences research in Western New York."

Hohn added, "On behalf of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, I want to express our heartfelt appreciation of such an extraordinary gift. With this grant, I am happy to report that Roswell Park's Horizons of Hope campaign under the great leadership of Anne & Richard Gioia and David & Susan Zebro now has raised more than $8.6 million toward the goal of $20 million for our new Center for Genetics and Pharmacology."

George T. DeTitta, Ph.D., principal research scientist, executive director and CEO of Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, commented, "For many years, the Oishei Foundation has been an avid supporter of science and development in Western New York. At Hauptman-Woodward, their past generosity has allowed us to expand, not only our research, but our staff as well. This new gift, for bricks and mortar, is just the beginning of what we hope will be a lifetime of growth and discovery. We cannot thank them enough."

The John R. Oishei Foundation is committed to enhancing the quality of life for Buffalo area residents by supporting education, health care, scientific research, and the cultural, social, civic and other charitable needs of the community. The Foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corp., one of the world's leading manufacturers of windshield wiper systems.