For benefactors such as those whose generosity created the six faculty chairs and professorships being bestowed at UMass Medical School Investiture ceremonies at 4 p.m. Wednesday, philanthropy is about more than just money. It is about caring, compassion and connection.
Family ties, spiritual beliefs, past history and future goals, relationships with an academic institution and its faculty, love of community, personal experiences with illness and disease, the desire to give back—all these and more inspire donors to share their financial resources with academic institutions. In addition to recognizing the distinguished faculty members who have been chosen for named professorships, Investiture is a celebration of the benefactors who made the honors possible. Mary DeFeudis and Norton and Carol Foxman will be among the honorees as they participate in investing the two new chairs they have funded.
Community involvement energizes Mary DeFeudisPhilanthropy is just one component of the extensive community involvement that Worcester-area native DeFeudis finds so personally rewarding. She directs considerable time and energy—as well as money—to all corners of the city, from the theater and sports arena to schools and hospitals. On behalf of her home town’s largest health care system and the region’s only integrated academic health sciences center, DeFeudis has long worked actively with UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care leadership to raise money for research.
“I have tons of energy. I like being able to get out there and help people and make a difference in the world,” DeFeudis said simply. Previously chair of the Board of Directors of the UMass Memorial Foundation and currently chair of the UMass Medical School/UMass Memorial Development Council, she has furnished leadership gifts that benefit cancer research and promote children’s health. She is now helping to fund the cancer research of Michael L. Blute, MD, the first Mary C. DeFeudis Chair in Cancer Care and Research, who joined the Medical School and UMass Memorial last year as director of the Cancer Center of Excellence. With this gift, she is extending her consistent support of biomedical research and patient care beyond community borders by focusing on a devastating illness whose effects reach far and wide. “I feel fortunate to be able to offer my support,” said DeFeudis.
Family and faith central for FoxmansRaised near Washington, DC, Norton Foxman was recently introduced to the cancer research at the Medical School by his wife, Carol Segal Foxman, whose Worcester connections include her uncle Lester Sadowsky, a longtime friend to the UMMS community. The Foxmans’ extensive philanthropy, supporting a number of organizations up and down the East Coast, especially Norton Foxman’s alma mater, the University of Maryland, is guided by their faith and inspired by their parents’ example.
“We believe in the merits of our Jewish faith,” said Norton Foxman. “The good deeds of the children of deceased parents are a direct reflection on their souls, and offer the children important opportunities for spiritual reflection and personal reminiscence on their dear ones’ lasting inspiration.” That is why the Isadore and Fannie Foxman Chair in Medical Research is named after his parents. “My mother gave her time, which was all she had to offer,” said Foxman. Now, he and Carol Foxman are happy that they have the means to offer financial support to inaugural incumbent, Michael P. Czech, PhD, chair and professor of molecular medicine at UMMS.
The relationships between benefactors and the institutions they support are often unique. “Our first question is always, ‘What is it that you care deeply about?’” explained Margaret Lansing, gift officer for the UMass Medical School/UMass Memorial Development Office. Through the careful and responsible stewardship of donors’ generous gifts—upward of $1 million in the case of named professorships and chairs—the office partners with donors to meet their goals as they facilitate advancements in medical research, patient care and the education of tomorrow’s medical professionals.
About InvestitureInvestiture is the formal bestowing of named professorships upon faculty by the donors who established the endowment. Wednesday’s ceremonies thank our donors as they honor Demetrius E. M. Litwin, MD, MBA, recipient of the Harry M. Haidak Professorship in Surgery; Terence R. Flotte, MD, recipient of the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professsorship in Medicine; David M. Harlan, MD, recipient of the William and Doris Krupp Professorship in Medicine; Michael P. Czech, PhD, recipient of the Isadore and Fannie Foxman Chair in Medical Research; Guangping Gao, PhD, recipient of the Penelope Booth Rockwell Chair in Biomedical Research; and Michael L. Blute, MD, recipient of the Mary C. DeFeudis Chair in Cancer Care and Research.UMass Worcester currently has 32 named professorships, precious and essential resources for the institution. Endowments increase UMass Worcester’s ability to attract and retain individuals distinguished in their fields. Named professorships also provide an opportunity for donors to contribute to the enrichment of the academic and scientific environment. To learn more, visit www.umassmed.edu/convocation/index.aspx.