Billionaire David Murdock plans to give a “record” gift to for health research to Duke University on Monday.
Specifics about the gift – the amount and what it is for – will be announced at the North Carolina Research Campus, which the owner of Dole Food Company is building in Kannapolis.
“It is a scientific first, I can tell you that,” a spokesperson for the Research Campus said. “This has huge significance for Duke Medical Center and is a landmark for them.
“It also will be a landmark in the scientific world,” she added.
To top previous financial gifts to Duke, the amount of the Murdoch donation would have to run in the tens of millions of dollars.
Murdock and a host of Duke officials are scheduled to be on hand for the announcement. Duke President Richard Broadhead and Victor Dzau, chancellor for health affairs at Duke and chief executive officer of the Duke Medical Center, are set to attend.
The gift is expected to involve translational research, which focuses on turning scientific discoveries into life science applications.
Rob Califf, director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, told the Independent Tribune in Kannapolis that plans for Duke’s commitment to the Research Campus are being finalized.
“It’s not just science for science’s sake,” Califf told the newspaper. “It’s taking findings and making them useful.”
Duke is also expected to spell out plans for its presence at the $1 billion-plus project that is being built on the site of a former mammoth textile mille.
The University of North Carolina System, North Carolina State, UNC-Chapel Hill and several other universities are working with Murdoch on the project.
"I’ve always said that the minds aligned at the campus combined with our state-of-the-art equipment will produce breakthroughs that can change the world," Murdock said in a statement. "This announcement will demonstrate that the vision is becoming a reality."
Murdock also owns Castle & Cooke, which is developing the campus.