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Giving to medicine and health at the University of Minnesota

Giving Matters

Discover what’s possible. Browse these features to find out more about the impact of University of Minnesota research, education, and care—and how you can help.


Dick Huston, D.V.M., and his wife, Glenda, were so passionate about education that, years ago, they established scholarships at nine different colleges, including the University of Minnesota. After Glenda died suddenly in 2010, her careful estate planning resulted in not just a substantial increase for the Glenda Taylor Huston Scholarship of Courage at the U but also funds to support bipolar disorder research at the institution.


The newest issue of Giving Matters is now available in print and online.

Am EMT from a family of community servants, Robert Eddy hopes his gift advances the U's research into improving survival rates after sudden cardiac arrest. (Photo: Jason Wachter)

Because he's hardwired to help, Robert Eddy '74, a philanthropist and volunteer Sherburne County Sheriff's deputy, former firefighter, and EMT, has made it his life's mission to bring more people back to life after sudden cardiac arrest.

Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building

The Biomedical Discovery District at the University of Minnesota has a clear-cut mission: to bring breakthroughs in the laboratory to patients as quickly as possible. And with a boost from philanthropy, that vision is becoming reality.

MPH student Jason Champagne believes that community cooking events, like this one on the White Mountain Apache reservation in eastern Arizona, will bring Native people together again. (Photo: Mike Henry)

"Healing is the most important ingredient in Native American cooking," says chef Jason Champagne, a member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and student in the School of Public Health who is pursuing a master's degree in public health nutrition. "Indigenous foods are a path to health and a way for us to recover our communities."

Betti Boers Maloney cherished time with her family, especially her three grandchildren. (Photo courtesy of Tom Maloney)

No one was more stunned than Tom Maloney when his wife was diagnosed with appendix cancer nearly three years ago. Betti Boers Maloney had always been fit, active, and health-conscious. At 60, after raising four children (a blended family, formed when the couple married in 1984) and working as the office manager for her husband's medical device materials business, she looked like the picture of health.

Agnes and a young Anna Belle Johnson, long before her schizophrenia diagnosis. (Photo courtesy of Dorothy Sayers, R.N.)

Agnes Johnson spent decades worrying about her daughter, Ana Belle, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 16. As Johnson aged, she decided to set up a fund to ensure that Ana Belle would always be cared for; in the event of Ana Belle's death, her mother wanted the money to go to the University of Minnesota, where it could support schizophrenia research. When Ana Belle died two years ago, Johnson's careful planning resulted in a generous gift to the U.


The vast majority of Americans no longer have to worry about federal estate taxes, but a will or living trust is still vital for making your wishes known about distributing your estate.


Follow this year-end countdown to maximize your planned giving and minimize your costs.

(Photo: Will Dunder)

A. Stuart Hanson, M.D., went to Dartmouth College on a four-year scholarship that covered his tuition and books. The support was invaluable to a middle-class kid from South Minneapolis, and he never forgot it. "I think the day you receive a scholarship, you have a desire to give back," says Hanson, who recently retired after a lifelong career as a pulmonologist with Park Nicollet Clinic in Minneapolis. "So that's what I'm doing."


Even when you've been hospitalized countless times and you're supported by a loving network like Lizzie Bell's ... even when you're as tough and brave as Lizzie herself, there's nothing easy about a blood and marrow transplant. It's a grueling and terrifying process. But thanks to several donors and the healing surroundings they've created, it's a lot less scary for some young patients at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital.

Macular degeneration experts Erik van Kuijk, M.D., Ph.D., and Deborah Ferrington, Ph.D., are part of the University team charged with finding a cure for the debilitating eye disease.

A $10 million gift supports innovative research in the University of Minnesota's Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences and in its Stem Cell Institute.

Leo Fung, M.D.

When Leo Fung, M.D., died in 2005, family and colleagues of the former chief of urology at what's now University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital were stunned. To make sure Fung's legacy lives on, his family has created a lectureship series and a program for pediatric urology scholars in his honor.

First-year pharmacy student Ernest Ruiz and second-year medical student Katy Bratko discuss a plan for patients at the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic. (Photo: Scott Streble)

Donors Mary K. and Gary Stern have invested in the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic, where faculty-guided U medical students provide care to patients in need.

A fibrin patch made in the lab of Jianyi Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., may help improve the effectiveness of stem cell therapies for the heart. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

"Everyone has some kind of tie to a person with heart disease," says Brian Engdahl, Ph.D., whose own father died of heart failure in 2005 at age 81. Through giving, Engdahl and his family are intent on improving the sobering statistics on heart disease today.

Don and Janet Wegmiller

Don and Janet Wegmiller are backing what Don calls "the best health care administration program in the country" with a $1 million gift to the School of Public Health.


William Lewis Anderson never had the chance to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor. The combat medic died trying to save a wounded soldier on the battlefield in Italy during WWII. Now, more than seven decades later, a $4 million gift made in his honor will help train today's medics and help heal the psychological scars that haunt some veterans who return home.


Learn about the tax benefits of charitable gifts of appreciated securities.


Make a gift of up to $100,000 directly from your IRA to the University of Minnesota Foundation to support health-related research, education, and care at the University before December 31, 2013, and avoid paying federal income tax on the amount of your gift.


Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan is giving patients at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital and their siblings a new place to play. Sullivan pledged $150,000 last fall to create the Sullivan Playground, a safe and accessible space designed by Minnesota company Landscape Structures for children of all abilities.

Champions for Children Celebrity Golf Classic

Join us for one of these upcoming events.

Betty Janye Dahlberg supports a new approach—vaccines—for treating brain cancer. (Photo: Scott Streble)

Betty Jayne Dahlberg of Deephaven, Minn., has seen the devastating effects of brain cancer firsthand. Her late son-in-law, James “Jimmy” Disbrow, lived with glioblastoma for four years before he died in 2002 at age 54. Disbrow suffered a great deal in those four years—despite valiant attempts to arrest his cancer through experimental therapies. He was an award-winning figure skater, a career he pursued until 1982, when he founded the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant company with his brother. Dahlberg says she does not want others to endure a similar ordeal, and she has a special concern for children who suffer from brain cancer.

Leaetta hough chose to honor her mother, Hazel Hough, by supporting Parkinson's research at the University. (Photo courtesy of Leaetta Hough)

When Leaetta Hough talks about her late mother, Hazel Hough, she emphasizes the courage and grace with which she endured the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease for more than 35 years. That’s why, when Hough asked her mother what she would like done in her honor after her death, she rejected the idea of having a building named for her in her hometown of Bagley, Minn. Instead, Hazel supported Hough’s proposal to contribute money to Parkinson’s disease research at the University of Minnesota.

CIDRAP director Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H. (Photo: Tim Rummelhoff)

Attention-grabbing specters like bubonic plague, Ebola, or the slim possibility of anthrax attacks make for compelling headlines, and the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) keeps tabs on all of these — along with other nightmarish, if distant, threats. Recently, CIDRAP has made headlines for its work on a more familiar, yet potentially devastating, peril: influenza.

Lynn and Roger Headrick want to support innovative and promising cancer research that's not happening anywhere else. (Photo: Tim Rummelhoff)

Cancer was a topic of immediate concern to Roger and Lynn Headrick in the 1990s when John Kersey, M.D., asked them to help fund a new cancer research center at the University of Minnesota. A former executive with Exxon, Pillsbury, and the Minnesota Vikings, Roger Headrick had recently joined the boards of two California biotech companies that were examining the links between genetics and cancer.


The Grand Lodge of Minnesota and Minnesota Masonic Charities have jointly sponsored an Adopt A Room at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital, continuing the Masons’ decades-long commitment to improving children's health.

Kathy Scheffler (center) joined scholarship recipients Allison Bradee and Greg Carlson on a surgical mission trip to Honduras last summer. Here, they reunite at the Medical School's scholarship luncheon in October. (Photo courtesy of Kathy Scheffler)

Russ Scheffler enjoyed medical students. For the two-and-a- half years he lived with cancer of the appendix, he befriended, quizzed, and “tormented” several of them, recalls his wife, Kathy. He recognized the teaching value of his illness, and welcomed the presence of aspiring physicians in the room. “He liked all the attention, he liked that interaction,” Kathy Scheffler says. When his University of Minnesota surgeon, Todd Tuttle, M.D., mentioned plans to bring a student on an upcoming medical mission trip to Honduras, Russ offered to pay for the student’s trip. That was news to Kathy, but she loved the idea.


The bull market of 2012 raises an intriguing question for those with investments: What is the most beneficial gift I can donate to the Minnesota Medical Foundation?


Examine your life insurance policies and take a look at who is named beneficiary. Chances are it’s your spouse or other family members, but if a beneficiary isn’t named, the proceeds will go to your estate. There are several reasons why you don’t want that to happen.

Physician recruiter Karrie Schipper (right), says scholarship recipient Jonna Maas (left) is just what she looks for in a physician. (Photo: Angelic Jewel Photography)

For most students, committing to medical school comes with a hefty price tag, the weight of which can be overwhelming. Enter Avera Marshall. For six years, the regional medical center in southwestern Minnesota has been working to lift that weight in hopes of inspiring future doctors to return to the area.

WineFest No. 18 featured artwork. <em>'Boco'</em>, by Luis Burgos.

Calendar of events | Winter-Spring 2013


As a pediatric oncologist, Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., sees tragedy every day. But little compares with the heartbreak he sees working with children who have epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a fatal disease that can cause the skin to slough off at even the slightest touch.

"This is one of the most awful diseases I've ever seen," Tolar says.

A member of the pioneering University of Minnesota team offering promising but risky blood and marrow transplants aimed at curing the disease, he is now focused on finding a safer alternative. Two foundations led by fathers of boys who have EB will contribute a total of $450,000 for this research--if other donors will collectively match it.


Carl N. Platou, M.H.A., was an unwavering optimist. He was also an accomplished health care innovator, a consummate people person, and a decorated veteran who survived World War II against staggering odds. His unique relationship with the University of Minnesota spanned more than 70 years, and the Biomedical Discovery District now coming to fruition on the East Bank campus is tangible proof of his tenacity.

Ashok Saluja, Ph.D. (Photo: Scott Streble)

When it comes to nasty diseases, pancreatic cancer has few rivals.

"It's the worst cancer known," says Ashok Saluja, Ph.D., professor and vice chair of research in the University of Minnesota's Department of Surgery. "More than 44,000 Americans will be diagnosed with it this year, and almost as many will die. It's hard to catch early, and there's no good treatment."

But Saluja, a member of the University's Masonic Cancer Center and one of the world's foremost researchers of pancreatic diseases, has found the first real ray of hope for treating this formidable cancer.

C. Gail Summers, M.D., is leading the first-ever drug trial aimed at improving vision for children who have albinism. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

There are top-notch researchers, and there are first-rate clinicians. But few doctors have both the scientific chops and the extraordinary bedside manner of pediatric ophthalmologist C. Gail Summers, M.D., says donor Michael Cohen.

Cohen's in a position to know; he's a physician himself. The Texas pathologist and his wife, Sandra Cohen, have made two $10,000 gifts to advance Summers's work. Inspired by the superlative care she's given their 15-year-old son, Matthew, the gifts are helping to support her current clinical trial, a study exploring a possible treatment for vision problems associated with albinism.

Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D., says endowed chairs foster the pursuit of novel ideas. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D., fell in love with the lab almost 40 years ago. She got her first taste of research working for four summers at the University of Minnesota on a paid fellowship from the American Heart Association.

Those paid fellowships are so rare now, Seaquist says, which is why she feels privileged to return the favor to students today using philanthropic funding from the Pennock Family Land Grant Chair in Diabetes Research, which she has held since 2002.

nikolas thumbnail.jpg

University of Minnesota senior Nikolas Job wrapped up his academic year as a communications major and is beginning his third straight summer internship at a company he hopes to work for one day.

Hill-Rom, a medical technology firm, makes the chest-compression vest Job has used since childhood to manage his cystic fibrosis (CF). Not only has the company offered Job the chance to work in marketing, but it often sends him to speak to groups of physicians, nurses, and others about its products and his personal experience.


Although Bob Johnson calls himself a “Swede from the East Side of St. Paul,” with a little prodding, you’ll learn that he carries many other titles as well: lawyer, former Minnesota state legislator, war veteran, proud father of six, cancer survivor.

In the late 1990s, Johnson was diagnosed with prostate cancer and sought treatment at the University.


You can have the most up-to-date will or living trust, but if your beneficiary designations on life insurance and retirement plans are not current, much of your planning could be undone.


Try out our new online gift illustrator to see the available giving opportunities and benefits.

Maxine and Winston Wallin have contribute time and talent to the University and its efforts in the health sciences. (Photo: Don Dickinson)

The late Winston Wallin was keen to invest in promising but untested ideas. Today, that inclination is advancing brain research at the University of Minnesota.

(From left to right) University physicians John Wagner, M.D., and Margaret MacMillan, M.D.; Minnesota Vikings quarterback and former FSU player, Christian Ponder; Ethan, Trey, Candi, and Jimbo Fisher; Rebecca Kill; and Karen Kaler and University President

When the Jimbo Fisher and his wife, Candi, learned earlier this year that their youngest son, 6-year-old Ethan, has a rare blood disease called Fanconi anemia, they dealt with the devastating news in private. Then they decided to use their visibility in the media to raise awareness of the disease as well as money for research at the University of Minnesota.

Children's Cancer Research Fund's 31st annual Dawn of a Dream event on November 5 raised more than $970,000 for pediatric cancer research at the University of Minnesota. Sue Hodder posthumously was awarded the organization's highest honor, its Dream Maker

Suzanne (Sue) Holmes Hodder thrived on helping others. She was always happy to support her friends and even strangers through projects she believed in. And she particularly cherished her volunteer role with Children's Cancer Research Fund, an organization launched by her close friends Diana and Norm Hageboeck after their daughter Katie died of leukemia in 1979 at age 13.

Mark and Jackie Hegman

The Dayton and Hegman families understand that living with diabetes is a constant struggle. Edward "Ned" Dayton and his wife, Sherry Ann, have helped their son Michael manage his type 1 diabetes since his childhood. He is now 43. And Jackie Hegman and her husband, Mark, have contended with her type 2 diabetes for more than 20 years. The Daytons and Hegmans also understand that when you're in a tough spot, you need powerful allies.

A high-tech classroom made possible by Mercy Health System and its president and CEO, Javon Bea, M.H.A., promotes a collaborative style of learning (Photo: Scott Streble)

Mayo D325 is no ordinary classroom. Gone are the podium and rows of tables and chairs — and along with it, the lecture-and-notes model of education that traditionally has transpired there. The classroom reopened for fall semester as the Mercy Learning Lab, a redesigned and re-equipped facility that includes larger tables meant to promote discussion and teamwork.

The Chorzempa family.

In the beginning, Martin and Jan Chorzempa donated to cancer research because they believed it was the right thing to do. Then, in 1990, their interest in the disease became personal — and their contributions felt more crucial — as Jan Chorzempa was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Influenced by Cubism and Impressionism, Jimmy Reagan is the featured artis for WineFest No. 17 — A Toast to Children's Health. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

Many artists begin a portrait with the eyes. Jimmy Reagan, this year’s WineFest artist, is no different. “When you’re somebody with autism, eye contact is really difficult,” explains Jimmy’s mother, Peg Schneeman Reagan.


A gift from your estate is an easy way to make a future gift in support of health-related research, education, and care at the University of Minnesota.

In gratitude to his doctors, Matthew donated part of his bar mitzvah money to research at the University of Minnesota. [Photo: Alison Langer]

Of all the things a teenage boy might choose to do with his bar mitzvah money, giving a portion to medical research might seem low on the list. After all, there are Xboxes and iPods and skateboards to buy. But when Matthew, 13, gave his money to a research program led by John Wagner, M.D., at the University of Minnesota, he was sharing a heartfelt thanks.


Nine-year-old Zachary "Zac" Bartz isn't your typical second-grader -- to many, he's an inspiration. Zachas a disorder called neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), which has caused tumors to grow in his brain and for which there is no known cure. Zachas endured multiple surgeries, countless rounds of chemotherapy, and 30 radiation treatments -- all conducted at clinics associated with the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

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