The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Wednesday received its largest individual donation ever, a $100 million commitment to its Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
The pledge from Fred Eshelman, a 1972 UNC-Chapel Hill graduate who founded both Pharmaceutical Product Development and Furiex Pharmaceuticals, will help create the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, providing faculty with new resources to engage in research and teaching, with the goal of spurring economic development.
Furiex recently was sold for more than $1.4 billion to Forest Labs.
“Collaborative public-private investments like this new institute will drive the future of innovation at Carolina,” Chancellor Carol Folt said in a statement. “Thanks to Dr. Eshelman’s vision and generosity, we can pursue three critical components of the university’s overarching mission: to continue to attract the very best faculty and students from around the world who have a passion to innovate, to fuel economic development arising from their discoveries in an exciting learning environment and to educate the next generation of leaders to be innovative and competitive.”
The gift also is the largest donation ever to a U.S. pharmacy school, according to UNC-Chapel Hill.
“The Eshelman Institute for Innovation provides us with the ability to pursue high-risk, high-reward ideas with partners on campus and to push those ideas out into the world as advancements in education, pharmacy practice and health care,” pharmacy school Dean Robert Blouin said in a statement.
Eshelman previously donated $38 million to the pharmacy school, which was renamed for him in 2008. His other gifts have supported drug discovery efforts, cancer research, scholarships, faculty positions and pharmacy education, practice and research programs.
“I am inspired by the work being done by students, faculty and staff in the School of Pharmacy,” he said in a statement. “Their success demonstrates the power and the future of drug discovery in academia, and it’s a future that I am eager and proud to support.”