October 07, 2004

Law school receives $500,000 donation

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. - - The Health Law and Policy Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is receiving a $500,000 gift from a long-time supporter of the law school's health policy program.

The Garwin Family Foundation is providing an annual gift of $50,000 over the next 10 years to fund the policy center.

The financial gift will enable the law school to enhance its health law offerings and center activities, said Dean Peter C. Alexander.

"We are very pleased that the Garwin Family Foundation is continuing its support of the law school," Alexander said. "They have been partners with us for many, many years. This agreement represents a commitment for the next 10 years, and that is a very exciting opportunity for us."

Dr. Leo Garwin, who died in July 2003 at the age of 85, was a founding member of the Garwin Family Foundation and the Leo Garwin JD/MD Scholarship Fund. His children, surgeon Dr. Marsha G. Ryan of Carbondale and anesthesiologist Dr. Mark J. Garwin of Cobden, are continuing their father's tradition.

Established in 1993 to foster educational and academic research, the Garwin Family Foundation provides funding for many activities, including the Garwin Distinguished Professor of Law and Medicine and the Grayson Distinguished Lecture. The lecture honors Garwin's brother-in-law, a Los Angeles surgeon who died in 1990.

SIUC Chancellor Walter V. Wendler lauded the Garwin Family Foundation for its ongoing commitment to the law school and the health policy program.

"The support shown by the Garwin Family Foundation reflects the very essence of what happens when you have the dedication of alumni and supporters combined with an excellent program that benefits not only students, but has a far-reaching societal impact," said Wendler.

He added that the donation addresses one of the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, of increasing private support to complement state and tuition support.

The gift presents an opportunity for SIUC "to distinguish itself in the health law arena, to really establish a center of excellence in health law in a couple of ways," said professor Marshall B. Kapp, the Garwin Distinguished Professor of Law and Medicine.

"There is a substantial interest among our current and prospective students in the health law area and in addition, it gives us the opportunity to add to the knowledge and thinking that is necessary if the health care delivery system is going to be improved in the coming years," said Kapp. "There are many challenges in the health care system in terms of quality of access and affordability, and there is a need for creative involvement by the legal community. This will help us take a leadership role in providing some of that creativity."

Leo Garwin was a chemical engineer who also held a law degree. His wife, Ruth, who died in 1994, was a retired professor of sociology.

"Dr. Garwin's generosity to the law school has made it possible for us to do many things," said Alexander. "I am sure he would be pleased that his son and daughter are continuing that tradition in their role as leaders of the Garwin Family Foundation. We certainly are very proud to be partners with them." Marsha Ryan is immediate past president of the SIU Foundation; she earned her law degree from SIUC in 1987. Mark Garwin graduated from the law school in 2000.

"The joint JD/MD program is an excellent program and one of the best of its kind in the country," Ryan said. "There are many ways in which law and medicine connect with one another and having an education in both gives you a tremendous overview so you can have a foot in each camp and can assist both sides in coming to joint resolution."

The "confluence of law and medicine, and the interaction between the two disciplines is becoming more and more evident all the time," said Garwin. The multiplicity of issues where the two professions interact, include bioethical issues, legal issues, health law policy issues and vindication of individuals' rights, he said.

The law school provides "an excellent training ground for people who have both an interest in law and medicine," Garwin said. "It has an established JD/MD program, works closely in concert with the American College of Legal Medicine and is embarking on a master of law degree program."

Rickey N. McCurry, SIUC's vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO of the SIU Foundation, said the gift provides the University with another valuable tool in recruiting students.

"The Garwin family has provided the University with significant support through the years and this commitment is an important step in offering progressive graduate and professional programs," said McCurry.

Recruiting and retaining the best students for graduate and professional study is among the goals of Southern at 150: BuildingExcellence through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.