MIAMI (AP) The University of Miami School of Medicine announced its largest donation ever Monday: $100 million from the family of the late construction magnate Leonard Miller, founder of the Lennar Corp.
University President Donna Shalala said the medical school has been renamed the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in his honor.
“This generous gift will lead us into a new era of scientific discovery and medical breakthroughs that will benefit our South Florida community an “beyond,” said Dean Colson, chairman of the University of Miami Board of Trustees.
The donation is the second largest to a university in Florida, behind the $220 million donated by pizza tycoon Thomas Monaghan to found Ave Maria University in Naples.
Miller, a native of New Bedford, Mass., moved to Miami and started a construction company with a $10,000 investment in 1954. That company became Lennar Corp., now a Fortune 500 company with $8.9 billion in 2003 sales.
Miller served on the university’s board of trustees for 20 years, was chairman from 1995 to 1999. He was treated by the medical school’s doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital for liver cancer before he died in 2002.
“Leonard’s illness gave us a better understanding of what this arm of the university truly represents,” said his widow, Sue Miller. “We as a family learned firsthand the true commitment of this medical world.”
The largest previous gift to the University of Miami was $50 million, said medical school dean John Clarkson.
The Miller donation will be used primarily for research, Clarkson said. The school will establish four Miller professorships and recruit biomedical scientists. He said the medical school was given a lot of flexibility with the donation.
“Today we launch a new chapter that will propel us to even greater heights of medical discovery, medical education and unparalleled medical care,” he said.
The medical school has more than 1,300 ongoing research projects funded by $196 million in external grants and contracts, school officials said. It ranks in the top third among U.S. medical schools for research funding awarded.
For more information, visit www.med.miami.edu or www.lennar.com.