The William K. Warren Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., has made a $3.5 million gift to the University of Notre Dame that, combined with a previous gift valued at $6.5 million, will endow the creation of The Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development in the College of Science.
The center will be a state-of-the-art resource for a highly productive and renowned group of drug discovery faculty with expertise and interest in areas such as neurological and central nervous system disorders, infectious disease, cancer and rare diseases.
"The work of the center will improve the lives of people worldwide, which is a central component of Notre Dame's mission as a Catholic research university," said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University's president. "The Warren family has been enormously generous to Notre Dame over the years, and we are sincerely grateful for this visionary gift."
The center will support the organization of chemical research discoveries to create the Notre Dame Chemical Compound Collection and promote biological evaluation of the products through internal collaborations and external partnerships with the aim of bringing healing therapies to the market. As a result of productive and well-funded research programs in the College of Science and medicinal chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Notre Dame, more than 20,000 unique and potentially powerful chemical compounds already are available for biological screening. The center will expand Notre Dame's entrepreneurial ecosystem by cultivating relationships with other participants in the field of drug development as an important step in moving the center's work beyond pre-clinical stages to market more effectively.
"We are delighted to work with The William K. Warren Foundation to bring this important new center to campus," said Gregory Crawford, The William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science at Notre Dame. "The translation of basic scientific discoveries into possible new therapeutics is an exciting and growing enterprise at Notre Dame. The work of several world-renowned researchers in medicinal chemistry, chemical biology and disease-related biochemistry has turned this field into a thriving, major research strength for the College of Science."
"The establishment of The Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development will have a major impact on translational research here at Notre Dame," said Richard Taylor, associate vice president for research and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. "Drug discovery is already a well-recognized strength within the College of Science and a valuable resource to our biomedically focused research centers, including the Harper Cancer Institute, the Eck Institute for Global Health and the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases. This support from The William K. Warren Foundation will enable us to complement our current team with additional, top-quality drug discovery faculty researchers and to provide them with advanced research facilities and equipment to ensure that Notre Dame discoveries realize their full therapeutic potential."
"The William K. Warren Foundation is proud of our long-term association with the University of Notre Dame, and we are delighted and fortunate to support Notre Dame in launching a new chapter in its mission of service by founding The Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development," said John-Kelly C. Warren, president and chief executive officer of The William K. Warren Foundation. "The center will allow Notre Dame to advance its boundaries of teaching and research and to create more deliberate and successful pathways toward novel treatments and cures for human illnesses. The bold vision that Notre Dame has for the center is reminiscent of the vision of my grandfather, William Kelly Warren Sr., who rose from very humble beginnings to build an incredibly successful business in the oil industry, and who focused his extensive charitable efforts on health care and medical research with the express goal of curing illness affecting mankind, all bolstered by his steadfast commitment to the Catholic faith. We have tremendous confidence in the leadership of Dean Greg Crawford and his team at the College of Science who will shape, refine and implement the vision for The Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development to achieve its great promise."
In addition to providing the gift for Crawford's endowed deanship, The William K. Warren Foundation and Warren family members have made dozens of other gifts to Notre Dame, including support for five endowed professorships in the College of Science and the Departments of Theology and Anthropology, a scholarship endowment, the Warren golf course and the renovation of the student health center, now called Saint Liam Hall.
The William K. Warren Foundation was founded in 1945 by its Oklahoma oil executive namesake and his wife, Natalie O. Warren. Their son, William K. Warren Jr., is a 1956 graduate of Notre Dame and an Emeritus Trustee of the University.