Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) today announced a major commitment from publisher, real estate developer, and MSKCC Board member Mortimer B. Zuckerman of $100 million from his charitable trust toward Memorial Sloan Kettering’s new cancer research facility, including a 23-story laboratory structure that opens this month. Mr. Zuckerman’s donation is the largest single commitment by an individual in Memorial Sloan Kettering’s history.
When completed, the 693,000 square-foot complex will accommodate a near-doubling in the size of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s research enterprise.
In recognition of his generosity, MSKCC’s Boards of Overseers and Managers plan to name the building “The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Research Center.”
Mr. Zuckerman was elected a member of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Board of Overseers in 1991. A native of Canada who holds degrees from McGill University, McGill Law School, The Wharton Graduate School of Business, and Harvard Law School, Mr. Zuckerman is chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News and World Report, publisher of the New York Daily News, and the founder of Boston Properties, Inc., one of the largest owners and developers of office properties in the United States. He is also a former associate professor of city and regional planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
“The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Research Center gives vivid physical expression to this institution’s role as a leader in cancer research,” said MSKCC President Harold Varmus, MD. “The configuration of its laboratories and other spaces will encourage interactions that are critical to productive collaborations among basic scientists and clinical investigators. We are fortunate to have someone like Mort who recognizes the essential connection between scientific discoveries and advances in patient care.”
The new building, which includes 16 laboratory floors, is located on East 68th Street between First and York Avenues in Manhattan, across the street from Memorial Hospital. The proximity to the hospital will promote interdisciplinary efforts as scientists and physicians work together to achieve a better understanding of cancer and develop new, more effective ways of controlling the disease.
“Memorial Sloan Kettering and all those whose lives are touched by the pioneering work conducted here will be forever grateful to Mort Zuckerman for this wonderful gift,” said Douglas A. Warner III, chairman of the Center’s Boards of Overseers and Managers. “In his role as a Board member, he has proven to be a thoughtful contributor and insightful leader. It seems to me especially fitting that his name will be associated with the discoveries made in these laboratories.”
The Center’s programs in immunology, molecular pharmacology and chemistry, and cancer biology and genetics are now being moved into the new structure, which will provide researchers with an inspiring, efficient, and state-of-the-art work environment. The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Research Center will also house the newly established Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, a major hospital-based initiative in which scientists and physicians work together to translate laboratory findings into clinical investigations with a direct impact on patient care. Shared “core facilities” in areas such as high-throughput screening and nuclear magnetic resonance will provide crucial equipment and technical support for work conducted by multiple programs.
After the building opens in May 2006, work will get underway on a connecting seven-story structure scheduled for completion in 2009. It will add a conference center with a 350-seat auditorium and a number of “dry” laboratories, including space for computational biology. In addition, The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Research Center will provide a permanent home for the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, a new PhD program that offers a distinctive course of study in cancer biology with a strong clinical orientation.
As designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP in collaboration with the Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Research Center features a strong emphasis on energy-efficiency and environmental sustainability. Built by Turner Construction Company under the direction of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Facilities Department, it is expected to be among the first research buildings in the country to receive certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System™, a benchmarking standard developed by the U.S. Green Building Council that evaluates the environmental performance of buildings.
Original, permanent art installations are also a unique part of the design of the facility. They include imagery in the glass of the “interaction staircases” throughout the building, using mirrored surfaces and silk-screened glass; a distinctive “sculptural ceiling” in the Cyber Lounge (a central gathering place for researchers); and other commissioned artwork for the connecting seven-story structure in what will become the permanent lobby of the research center.
“As a member of the Board, I have been impressed and inspired by the vision that led to the creation of this beautiful and functional research building,” said Mortimer Zuckerman. “And, as someone who has seen both the suffering cancer causes and the hope each new advance brings, I am determined to do what I can to accelerate the pace of progress and to help the Center’s extraordinary scientists and physicians achieve their crucial goals.”
The commitment to establish the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Research Center, through the MBZ Charitable Trust, comes at an important time for Memorial Sloan Kettering, which recently announced plans to double the goal of its successful capital campaign to $2 billion and to extend the fundraising initiative by another five years until 2011.
In addition to serving as a Board member at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Mr. Zuckerman is involved in a wide range of other organizations and institutions. He is a trustee of New York University, the Aspen Institute, the Hole in the Wall Gang Fund, Inc. and the Center for Communications. He is also a member of the J.P. Morgan National Advisory Board, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Washington Institute for Near East Studies and the International Institute of Strategic Studies. He is a former lecturer of City and Regional Planning at Yale, and a past president of the Board of Trustees of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Mr. Zuckerman was awarded the Commandeur De L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France, received five honorary degrees, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Guild Hall and the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architecture in New York.
“Anyone who knows Mort Zuckerman — either personally, or through his writings — can appreciate his incisive intellect and the remarkable breadth of his interests,” said Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., vice-chairman of the MSKCC Board and co-chairman of the capital campaign. “Memorial Sloan Kettering is a better place because of everything he has done here. We are indebted to him for the confidence he has shown in the Center and its people.”