CCTR receives $16 million gift

Longtime Virginia Commonwealth University benefactor C. Kenneth Wright has made a $16 million gift to name the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research at VCU.

The gift, from Wright and the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Foundation, is the fifth-largest single gift in the history of the university. The gift will establish six C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Distinguished Chairs in Clinical and Translational Research as well as the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Physician-Scientist Scholars program.

“The center is improving the lives of patients at VCU Health,” Wright said.  “I am excited about helping to put the very best faculty and students in the laboratories and clinics so new discoveries can be made and new treatments can be developed. I am very grateful for the excellent care Dianne received at VCU Health, and I know that she would be very pleased about this gift and the impact it will have across VCU.”

The endowed chairs, established with $12 million of the gift, will enable the university to recruit distinguished clinical and translational researchers from around the country.

The additional $4 million will launch the physician-scientist scholars program, which will help VCU prepare the best and brightest students for careers in clinical and translational research, providing tuition and stipends for M.D.-Ph.D. candidates in the VCU School of Medicine.

“The generosity of the Wright family signals to the world how lives are better as a result of research and the next generation of physician-scientists,” says Marsha Rappley, M.D., VCU vice president for health sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System. “By highlighting cancer and heart disease, the Wright family touches millions of people with their gift. By focusing on our M.D.-Ph.D. students, they tell those students how important they are to the next discovery that will save lives.”

The VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research encourages, engages and supports collaborative participation of VCU investigators and students, regional community partners and volunteers and government organizations to accelerate translational research for the betterment of human health.

“Institutional support has been important in sustaining the VCU CCTR,” says Francis L. Macrina, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation in the VCU Office of Research and Innovation. “Ken Wright’s wonderful gift provides a powerful new resource for the CCTR that will support clinical and translational scientists and scientists-in-training in our M.D.-Ph.D. program.”

With his late wife, Dianne, Wright has a philanthropic relationship with the university that reaches back to 1999.

“The Wrights came to VCU with a big vision, a strong resolve to accomplish that vision and a deep commitment to using their talents and resources to change the world,” says VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “Dianne and Ken have forever changed our great university. This gift is poised to do the same for the CCTR. It will be thrilling to see what discoveries and breakthroughs will be made as a result of the extra emphasis on translational research this gift will allow.”