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$2.5 Million Gift Establishes Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine
September 19, 2013
Image: (From right) Arthur Feldman, MD, PhD, Walter Koch, PhD, and Larry Kaiser, MD, FACS, are joined by W.W. Smith Trustee Mary Smith, Advisor Deborah McKenna, and Medical Grant Administrator Louise Havens at the ceremony celebrating Dr. Koch’s appointment as Temple University School of Medicine's first William Wikoff Smith Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine.
"It's great to be back in the W.W. Smith family."
That's how Walter Koch, PhD, described his feelings during a Sept. 16 ceremony to celebrate his appointment as the first William Wikoff Smith Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine. The newly endowed chair was established thanks to a $2.5 million gift from the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust.
Dr. Koch, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Director of the Center for Translational Medicine at TUSM, previously occupied a W.W. Smith endowed professorship before coming to Temple in 2012.
"This generous gift permits the continuation of stellar translational research at Temple University School of Medicine," said Larry R. Kaiser, MD, FACS, Dean of Temple University School of Medicine, President & Chief Executive Officer of Temple University Health System, and Senior Executive Vice President for Health Sciences at Temple University.
"The gift recognizes the ongoing transformation of Temple as one of the nation’s elite institutions in advancing new knowledge through translational research. It also recognizes the promise and potential of Dr. Koch's groundbreaking research in the field of cardiovascular medicine. We are honored by the Smith family's vision in identifying and supporting life-changing research, and are privileged to use their gift to further advance our understanding and treatment of heart disease."
"We are pleased to partner with Temple University School of Medicine and Dr. Wally Koch, who we recognize as an exceptional scientist, leader, teacher and mentor," said Mary L. Smith, Trustee of the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust. "This gift speaks to the confidence we have in the trailblazing cardiovascular research being done by Dr. Koch and Temple as a whole."
The W.W. Smith Charitable Trust is a venerable Philadelphia institution that supports medical research in heart disease, cancer and AIDS; provides scholarship aid for undergraduate education; and supplies food, clothing and shelter for needy children, families and the elderly in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Camden, NJ.
The Trust has been a frequent supporter of Temple University School of Medicine and Temple University, providing more than $15.2 million in gifts to the School of Medicine and the University for scholarships and medical research. More than half of that amount – $8.5 million – has supported various medical research initiatives since 1987.
"I am humbled and privileged to be selected, for a second time in my career, to occupy an endowed position that has been established through the beneficence of the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust," said Dr. Koch – who, prior to joining Temple, served as the W.W. Smith Professor of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University.
Dr. Koch is nationally regarded as a leader in translational research, including the investigation of cardiac signal transduction and the investigation of the molecular mechanisms of cardiac injury and repair to help develop new therapies for heart-failure patients. As principal investigator and project leader of several multi-million dollar NIH grants throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Koch has overseen numerous advances in cardiac research.
"I know the good work that the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust does, because I was the recipient of a W.W. Smith grant when I was a young researcher," said Arthur Feldman, MD, PhD, Executive Dean of the Temple University School of Medicine and Chief Academic Officer of the Temple University Health System. "Endowed chairs help us attract and retain distinguished scholars, teachers, mentor and scientists and ensure that Temple will maintain a leadership position in the area of cardiovascular research."
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