Academic journal article Human Ecology

The Jacobs CHALLENGE: Fundraising Inspiration Creates Four Endowed Professorships

Academic journal article Human Ecology

The Jacobs CHALLENGE: Fundraising Inspiration Creates Four Endowed Professorships

Article excerpt

Every day, 91 Americans die of opioid overdose from prescription drugs or heroin.

While this national epidemic seems to be spiraling out of control, Valerie Reyna, Professor of Human Development, has been working with other scholars on a federal panel to apply scientific strategies to address the crisis.

Reyna's research examines the most vulnerable period for developing addictions and other unhealthy behaviors--adolescence. Her new focus on the mechanisms that drive addiction will become easier to explore since receiving one of four faculty endowments created through a three-year fundraising challenge for the college.

"This will allow me to innovate more, take risks with my work, and know that I have stable support for my research," says Reyna, a neuroscientist who was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, which appointed the Committee on Prescription Opioid Abuse last year.

The endowed professorships were established through a challenge grant initiated by longtime Cornell supporters Joan Klein Jacobs '54 and Irwin Mark Jacobs '54, founding chairman and CEO emeritus of Qualcomm, as part of their $10 million donation to the College. The gift--the largest in the College's history--included a $6 million commitment for four faculty endowments that would be matched by other donors.

The Jacobs Challenge, announced in 2014, inspired three donors to establish named professorships: Janet K. Lankton '53 and Gordon B. Lankton, M.Eng. '53, former chairman of Nypro; Lois M. Tukman '62 and Melvin Tukman, president and director of Tukman Grossman Capital Management; and Lee Cheung ("LC") Lau, founder and chairman of EPRO Development Group and founding member of the Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation.

"The Jacobs Challenge afforded us the opportunity to endow a professorship, which was something we hadn't considered," says Lois Tukman, who earned her degree in child development at Cornell. …

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