Stephen Prescott found a very vibrant nonprofit organization when
he arrived in Oklahoma City in mid-2006 to take over as president of
the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
He was replacing J. Donald Capra, who had served as OMRF
president since 1997. Under Capra, funding received by the
biomedical research institute from the National Institutes of Health
increased from $8 million in 1997 to $27.4 million in 2005. Capra
led a $100 million fundraising campaign completed in 2004.
But now after slightly more than half a year on the job, Prescott
sees a need for additional expansion and growth. The Texas native
has big ideas.
"We plan to expand research over the next two years," he said.
"As we get larger we will have more areas we can attack."
OMRF is developing plans for a new eight-story, 195,000-square-
foot research tower. It will be built between OMRF's current
facility at 825 NE 13th St. and NE 15th Street.
The foundation, chartered in 1946, purchased the Keys Speech and
Hearing Building from the University of Oklahoma and will take
possession of the site in 2008. That will be the site of the new
Buying the site was important for OMRF's growth plans, Prescott
said. The site sits in the middle of the foundation's campus, which
is landlocked by other facilities.
Prescott expects a campaign to start later this year to raise
money to build the new research center. The cost is expected to
total about $125 million including construction, equipment,
furnishings and start-up costs for 30 additional principal
"I think we will be able to raise this money," said Prescott, who
came to OMRF with a background in securing research funding.
He grew up in College Station, Texas, and is a graduate of Texas
A&M University. He earned his doctorate from the Baylor College of
Prescott came to Oklahoma City from the University of Utah, where
he held the H.A. and Edna Benning Presidential Endowed Chair,
founded the Eccles Program in Human and Molecular Biology and
Genetics, and served as executive director of the Huntsman Cancer
He led the Huntsman Cancer Institute from 1999 to 2005. During
his tenure, the institute raised $180 million in private
contributions and secured more than $100 million in government
Before moving to Oklahoma City, Prescott and his wife, Susan,
lived in the same house in Salt Lake City for 24 years. They have
two grown children - an attorney and a chef - and three
"Professionally, I have run an organization of this size, but
this is different because of the challenges of coming in from the
outside," he said.
Prescott said it is a good time to be in Oklahoma City and
planning a fundraising campaign.
"Oklahoma City's economy is growing," he said.
While OMRF has traditionally received support from foundations
and grants, much of its support has come from smaller contributions
from across the state. …